WASHINGTON D.C., (KTXL) — Three California Highway Patrol officers received the Department of Justice Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor from President Joe Biden Monday for their actions during a shooting in August 2019 that killed an officer, according to the CHP.
CHP officers Ryan Smith, Vince Mendoza and retired officer Robert Paul were given the national highest award of valor for public safety officers.
“The actions of these men that day were noble, courageous, and crucial to getting another officer to safety,” CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray said in a press release. “I am incredibly proud of these officers for their teamwork and the numerous acts of bravery which took place during this horrific incident.”
During a 2019 enforcement stop and vehicle impound by officer Andre Moye Jr. near Interstate 215 in Riverside, the suspect pulled out a rifle from inside his car and shot him without warning, killing the officer.
Paul, who was accompanying Moye on the call, drew his weapon and began firing at the suspect while also radioing “officer down”, according to CHP.
While waiting for backup to arrive, Paul was shot in his legs multiple times, but still continued to hold off the suspect, CHP said.
Smith arrived, his vehicle taking Immediate shots from the suspect, exited the vehicle and began returning fire and pulled Paul to safety, according to CHP.
When Mendoza arrived he began firing at the suspect with his rifle, drawing fire away from the other two officers, according to CHP.
The suspect was fatally shot after a 12 minute gun battle with Mendoza and other accompanying law enforcement agencies, according to CHP.
“Our entire way of life – our freedoms, our peace, our pursuit of happiness – depends on the rule of law and those fearless, faithful few willing to stand watch,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said . “I applaud the bravery and selflessness of these California Highway Patrol officers as they are recognized nationally for their heroism. They exemplify California values and represent the very best of our state’s law enforcement.”