UNITED STATES NEWS

‘True heroism’: Biden honors 9 with Medal of Valor including 2 NYPD cops killed during 911 call

May 16, 2023, 9:05 PM | Updated: May 17, 2023, 12:28 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two New York Police Department officers ambushed and killed after responding to a 911 call and the rookie cop who took down the gunman were honored Wednesday, along with six others, by President Joe Biden with the Medal of Valor, the nation’s highest honor for bravery by a public safety officer.

The three NYPD officers, a Houston police officer, Colorado police official, Ohio sheriff’s deputy and three FDNY firefighters all received medals in a White House ceremony before Biden departs for Japan and the Group of Seven summit.

“I don’t know all of you, but I do know you,” Biden said. “From small towns to big cities, you’re cut from the same cloth. You run into danger when everyone else runs away from danger.”

Biden told the crowd the award was given for “actions above and beyond the call of duty,” singling out the families of the officers to thank them.

partner Jason Rivera were shot Jan. 21, 2022, while responding to a call about a family dispute in a Harlem apartment. Officer Sumit Sulan shot and killed the gunman, ending the deadly encounter moments after it began and keeping the civilians safe. Rivera died that night, Mora was pronounced dead four days later. The families of the two officers accepted their awards.

The fallen cops were no strangers to tensions between the NYPD and some of the communities they police; they’d both seen it growing up. Both sought to be catalysts of change when they became police officers, but neither got the chance they deserved, gunned down during a spate of shootings of police officers in 2022 in the city.

Biden, who recently announced he’d seek reelection, has spoken wake of the killing of George Floyd and the deaths of other Black people at the hands of police. But he also says law enforcement needs better funding and tools in order to do a highly stressful job that’s only getting worse, particularly post-pandemic.

“I think one of the hardest jobs in America, what you signed up for,” the president said Wednesday as he presented the medals. “You represent the best of who we are as Americans.”

Rivera, 22, had been a police officer for barely a year. Mora, 27, was in his fourth year on the job. All three were promoted to detective — the fallen officers posthumously and Sulan in a ceremony where he was given detective shield No. 332, a symbol of the three from the 32nd precinct where they worked in Manhattan.

The nation’s largest police department has roughly 35,000 officers; the next largest is Chicago with 13,000.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said the recipients showed “extraordinary valor” above and beyond the call of duty.

“At the end of every shift, you are there,” he said to the families. “It is your care and encouragement that makes it possible for our public safety officers to do their jobs. We are so grateful to you.”

Biden also honored three New York City firefighters for the bravery, including Lt. Justin Hespeler, who rescued a newborn baby from a burning house. “That’s true heroism,” Biden said.

Firefighter Patrick Thornton who, aboard an FDNY boat, saved a man trapped under a capsized vessel in the waters off the coast of Staten Island was also honored, along with retired Lt. Jason Hickey who was on the FDNY’s marine training unit when he got a distress call of a man in the Harlem River, a tidal strait that flows swiftly between the Hudson and East Rivers. Hickey jumped in and saved the man from drowning.

The other recipients are:

— Corporal Jeffrey Farmer of the Littleton, Colorado Police Department. Farmer was responding to a call of shots fired possibly out of a car window, and chased the suspect to the door of an apartment where the man opened fire, hitting Farmer’s partner. Farmer worked to fend off the shooter, then, realizing an ambulance was too far away, dragged his partner into his police car and drove him to the hospital himself, saving his life.

— Deputy Bobby Hau Pham of the Clermont County, Ohio Sheriff’s Office. Pham saved a drowning woman who had driven her car into a lake, though he could not swim.

— Sergeant Kendrick Simpo of the Houston, Texas Police Department. Simpo was working a second job at the Houston area Galleria mall when he heard on the radio a heavily armed man wearing a black mask was roaming the mall, near where a group of children were gathered for a dance competition. Simpo tackled the suspect who was carrying an AR-15 rifle, handgun and 120 rounds of ammunition. No one was injured.

United States News

FILE - Leslie Moonves attends the CBS Network 2015 Programming Upfront at The Tent at Lincoln Cente...

Associated Press

LA ethics panel rejects proposed fine for ex-CBS exec Les Moonves over police probe interference

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles City Ethics Commission unanimously rejected a proposed settlement between the city and Les Moonves on Wednesday, saying a tougher penalty is warranted for the former CBS chief executive accused of interfering with a police investigation into sexual assault allegations against him. Moonves had agreed to pay an $11,250 […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Trial of ‘Rust’ armorer to begin in fatal film rehearsal shooting by Alec Baldwin

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Attorneys prepared to make opening statements Thursday at the first trial related to the fatal shooting of a cinematographer by actor Alec Baldwin during a rehearsal for the Western film “Rust.” Before Baldwin’s case progresses, the movie’s weapons supervisor is being tried on charges of involuntary manslaughter and tampering with […]

4 hours ago

FILE - Darryl George, a 17-year-old junior, before walking across the street to go into Barbers Hil...

Associated Press

Trial to determine if Texas school’s punishment of a Black student over his hair violates new law

ANAHUAC, Texas (AP) — A trial is set to be held Thursday to determine if a Black high school student in Texas can continue being punished by his district for refusing to change his hairstyle, which he and his family say is protected by a new state law that prohibits race-based hair discrimination. At issue […]

4 hours ago

In this undated image provided by Haylee Wendling, family members of Colin Conner pose for a photo ...

Associated Press

Amid fentanyl crisis, Oregon lawmakers propose more funding for opioid addiction medication in jails

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Kendra Sawyer spoke with her dad from the Deschutes County jail and told him she loved him. Six hours later, in the throes of opioid withdrawal, the 22-year-old took her own life. A year later, Sawyer’s father, Kent, is left wondering whether his daughter, troubled as she was, might still be […]

4 hours ago

FILE - New York Attorney General Letitia James speaks Feb. 16, 2024, in New York. Donald Trump coul...

Associated Press

New York AG says she’ll seize Donald Trump’s property if he can’t pay $454 million civil fraud debt

NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump could be at risk of losing some of his prized properties if he can’t pay his staggering New York civil fraud penalty. With interest, he owes the state nearly $454 million — and the amount is going up $87,502 each day until he pays. New York Attorney General Letitia […]

4 hours ago

FILE - New York Attorney General Letitia James speaks Feb. 16, 2024, in New York. Donald Trump coul...

Sponsored Content by

NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump could be at risk of losing some of his prized properties if he can’t pay his staggering New York civil fraud penalty. With interest, he owes the state nearly $454 million — and the amount is going up $87,502 each day until he pays. New York Attorney General Letitia […]

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

‘True heroism’: Biden honors 9 with Medal of Valor including 2 NYPD cops killed during 911 call