On Tuesday, President Donald Trump awarded 12 first responders with the Medal of Valor, including nine who have helped take down a mass shooter.
The president began by acknowledging that the ceremony took place as the country still mourns with the community of Parkland, Florida.
“The 12 patriots we honor come from many places and serve in many different roles, but they all share one thing in common: when faced with danger, they each put the lives of others before their own,” he said.
- Cpl. Rafael Ixco, San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department
- Det. Bruce Southworth, San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department
- Deputy Shaun Wallen, San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department
- Det. Brian Olvera, San Bernardino Police Department
- District Attorney Investigator Chad Johnson, San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office
- Officer Nicholas Koahou, Redlands Police Department
Trump explained that when terrorists attacked the Inland Regional Center, the six men responded to the onslaught and risked their own lives to stop the “sinister rampage, which was going to get a lot worse.”Alex Wong/Getty Images
He specifically mentioned Koahou, who suffered a serious injury during the gunfight yet continued to return fire.
Patrolman Andrew Hopfensperger Jr. of the Antigo Police Department was outside a high school during the junior prom when he heard gunfire.
“Within 19 seconds, he found the shooter and took him down just before he was about to kill four innocent students,” Trump said. “Andrew, incredible job. Thank you very much.”
Hesston, Kansas, Police Chief Douglas Schroeder was also honored with the Medal of Valor for his response to the Excel Industries shooting in 2016.
Schroeder was the first to respond to the scene, and Trump explained that he “charged into the building without any backup whatsoever” and ultimately subdued the shooter.
“Through your service and sacrifice, we are reminded that America’s greatest treasure is her people,” he said. “In your courage, we see America’s strength, and in your character, we see America’s soul.”
The president also thanked the families of the medal recipients since each of them in turn “serves and sacrifices for your country.”
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