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2015 Medal of Valor

Police Officer April Lockhart
On the night of April 7, 2014, Officer April Lockhart and her partner, were assigned to work the front desk at West Traffic Division. In an adjacent room, the OWB Community Room, 20 community members were holding a meeting.

As Officer Lockheart’s partner assisted a citizen with a traffic report, she asked a man who walked into the station lobby, if she could assist him with anything. The man replied he had a complaint and simultaneously produced a semiautomatic handgun, and immediately began firing at the officers. As Officer Lockhart and her partner reacted to the suspect’s deadly assault, the citizen crawled to a nearby restroom for safety.

Officer Lockhart and her partner, without regard for their own personal safety, confronted the armed suspect
and returned fire with their service weapons. Officer Lockhart’s weapon went to slide-lock. She quickly reloaded and provided cover fire. Her partner was severely wounded by the suspect’s gunfire yet he continued to stay in the fight. Officer Lockhart prevailed by striking the suspect numerous times. The suspect collapsed on the ground and was taken into custody. The suspect never regained consciousness and succumbed to his wounds a week later.

For displaying extreme bravery and courage while confronting an armed suspect that could have undoubtedly killed or seriously wound numerous community members or police officers, the Medal of Valor is bestowed upon: Police Officer April Lockhart.


Police Officer Alberto Ortiz

On the night of April 7, 2014, Officer Alberto Ortiz and his partner, were assigned to work the front desk at West Traffic Division. In an adjacent room, the OWB Community Room, 20 community members were holding a meeting.

As Officer Ortiz assisted a citizen with a traffic report, his partner asked a man who just walked into the station lobby,if she could assist him with anything. The man replied he had a complaint and simultaneously produced a semiautomatic handgun, and immediately began firing at the officers. As Officer Ortiz and his partner reacted to the suspect’s deadly assault, the citizen crawled to a nearby restroom for safety.

Officer Ortiz and his partner, without regard for their own personal safety, confronted the armed suspect and returned fire with their service weapons. After the suspect shot at his partner, Officer Ortiz engaged in a gun fight within arm’s reach of the suspect’s weapon. His partner’s weapon went to slide-lock. She quickly reloaded and provided cover fire. Officer Ortiz was severely wounded by the suspect’s gunfire yet he continued to stay in the fight.

Officer Ortiz prevailed by striking the suspect numerous times. The suspect collapsed on the ground and was taken into custody. The suspect never regained consciousness and succumbed to his wounds a week later.

For displaying extreme bravery and courage while confronting an armed suspect that could have undoubtedly killed or seriously wound numerous community members or police officers, the Medal of Valor is bestowed upon: Police Officer Alberto Ortiz


Police Officer Francisco Zaragoza

On March 8, 2013, a radio call was broadcast about a man with a gun in dispute with a woman. A few minutes later a “shots-fired” radio call was broadcast. Southeast Area officers arrived to the location and saw that a truck had crashed into a parked car. The truck had its engine
running and rear wheels spinning. The officers were unable to clearly see the inside of the truck as it was dark and raining. Officers observed a male in the driver’s seat with a gunshot wound to the head.

Officer Francisco Zaragoza, armed with a police rifle, was summoned to assist in the search for suspects or witnesses. Officer Zaragoza heard a woman scream, followed by gunshots coming from inside the residence. Officer Zaragoza took a position of cover behind a door as he
saw the suspect point a gun toward the officers through a window. In immediate defense of his life and his fellow officers, Officer Zaragoza fired multiple rounds, causing the suspect to move away from the window and out of view. Officer Zaragoza tactically redeployed across the street
behind a car while other officers were positioned around the residence to contain the suspect.

The suspect began firing rounds through the walls of the residence in the direction of the officers. Officer Zaragoza saw a confused and scared child exit the residence holding an infant in his arms. Officer Zaragoza yelled to the child to walk toward him. Officer Zaragoza knew time was of the essence as the suspect continued shooting in the direction of the children. Officer Zaragoza quickly formed a tactical plan to rescue the children from across the street. Working as a two officer team, Officer Zaragoza left his position of cover and immediately crossed
the street providing cover for his fellow officer who picked up the children and moved them to a safe location. The child told Officer Zaragoza his younger sibling was still inside the residence. SWAT officers arrived and made entry into the residence and discovered two deceased adults with the younger sibling still alive.

For displaying extreme bravery and courage in the face of imminent danger while confronting an armed suspect, and for exposing yourself to gun fire to rescue two young children, the Medal of Valor is bestowed upon: Police Officer Francisco Zaragoza

Police Officer Ericandrew Avendano
On the evening of December 1, 2012, Officer Ericandrew Avendano and his partner, assigned to North Hollywood Division, responded to a radio call of a suspect walking down the street holding a large knife to a woman’s neck.

The suspect was the live-in boyfriend of the victim. The suspect was a methamphetamine addict who took medication for paranoia. As the afternoon progressed, the suspect became increasingly paranoid and left their apartment. The victim went looking for the suspect and found him wandering across the street. As the victim approached the suspect, he spun her around, and placed the sharp edge of a large knife to her neck. A witness saw the incident and called 911.

With his arm wrapped around the victim, the suspect forced her to walk aimlessly down the street. The suspect placed the knife tip near the victim’s eye, which caused her to grab the blade in an attempt to pull it away. The suspect pulled the knife back, causing a deep laceration to the victim’s hand, making her scream. The suspect then jabbed the knife into her abdomen and ordered her to keep walking.

Upon arrival, Officer Avendano and his partner saw the suspect holding the victim hostage in a dark alley. Stopping their police car within close proximity, Officer Avendano and his partner could see the suspect was still holding the knife to the victim’s neck. Realizing deadly force may become necessary, Officer Avendano unholstered his firearm and took cover behind the patrol car’s door. Officer Avendano ordered the suspect to drop the knife and raise his hands, but the suspect refused and yelled he intended to kill the victim in front of the officers.

The suspect, using the victim as a human shield, placed his head behind the victim’s head. The victim cried hysterically, pleading Officer Avendano and his partner to help her. Fearing for the victim’s life and noticing blood streaming from her neck, Officer Avendano raised his firearm and attempted to get a clear target. Realizing the incident was escalating to a very critical stage, Officer Avendano took a step to the right, causing the suspect to shift his stance and expose his head from behind the victim. Officer Avendano fired one round, striking the suspect in the left eye causing him to release the victim and fall to the ground. Officer Avendano approached and handcuffed the suspect ending the hostage situation. After the suspect was taken into custody, the victim repeatedly thanked Officer Avendano and stated “Thank you, thank you, you saved my life.”

For displaying extreme bravery and courage while confronting a dangerous suspect and for saving the life of an innocent victim, the Medal of Valor is bestowed upon: Police Officer Ericandrew Avendano


Police Officer Cesar Chavez
On the night of February 7, 2013, Officer Cesar Chavez and his partner, assigned to Newton Division patrol, responded to the Operations-Central Bureau, Command Post. They were assigned to a protection detail for LAPD police officers who were possible targets of terminated LAPD Officer Christopher Dorner, the suspect wanted for a double homicide in Irvine. Three days prior, the suspect killed the daughter of a retired LAPD captain and her fiancé, a public safety officer for the USC Department ofPublic Safety.

Officer Chavez and his partner were assigned to a protection detail in the city of Corona where they would meet two police officers at a residence. When they exited the 15 freeway they were approached by a citizen who advised them that a man matching the suspect’s description had recently left a nearby gas station. His partner observed a truck entering the freeway on ramp that matched the suspect’s vehicle. Officer Chavez began following the truck and requested a back up unit to assist them.Officer Chavez and his partner were not able to contact Communication Division as their radios would not transmit outside the city limits.

Officer Chavez and his partner followed the truck for five miles when it exited the freeway and came to a stop. Unable to notify any other police officers of their situation, Officer Chavez and his partner prepared for a possible ambush.

Officer Chavez stopped their vehicle and immediately the suspect exited the truck. Without warning, the suspect began firing at the officers from an assault rifle. The fast rate of fire from the suspect’s assault rifle shattered the front windshield and disabled the police vehicle. The persistent gunfire pinned Officer Chavez and his partner inside the vehicle, preventing them from escaping and driving away.

Officer Chavez returned gunfire over the dashboard toward the suspect’s direction. During the exchange of gunfire, Officer Chavez was wounded when a bullet grazed the top of his head.

The suspect got back into his vehicle and fled the scene. Officer Chavez and his partner were stranded and unable to follow the suspect. Officer Chavez flagged down multiple people who assisted them in calling 911. Their call advised police units of the suspect’s description and direction of travel.

For his courage and bravery, his quick clear thinking, smart tactics, attention to duty while serving in an unfamiliar area with no means of communicating to other police units, and for sustaining a heads injury under fire, the Medal of Valor is bestowed upon: Police Officer Cesar Chavez

Police Officer Allan Krish
On July 30, 2011, Police Officer Allan Krish and his partner, assigned to Hollenbeck Division, were working patrol when they received a radio call for assistance. Paramedics were transporting a suspect who jumped out of a moving ambulance, struck his head on the pavement, and was knocked unconsciousness. As paramedics treated the injured suspect, he regained consciousness, punched a paramedic, and ran away forcing his way into a nearby church.

Officer Krish and his partner observed the suspect hiding behind a pillar armed with a bent metal pole. After several unsuccessful attempts to persuade the suspect to surrender, Officer Krish and his partner led a systematic search for the suspect inside the church. With the assistance of a K-9 search team, Officer Krish and his partner searched several rooms when the K-9 alerted to a room behind a locked door.

Officer Krish, armed with a bean bag shotgun, and his partner, positioned themselves adjacent to the door. As another officer unlocked the door with a key, the suspect would relock it from the other side. Officer Krish’s partner kicked the door open twice and each time the suspect would close the door. On the third attempt, the K-9 tried to enter the room but got trapped between the doorway as the suspect again tried to close the door.

Officer Krish’s partner kicked the door again to free the K-9 when he observed the suspect armed with a large knife. The suspect raised his arm and lunged at the officers. Officer Krish fired a round at the suspect as the suspect stabbed Officer Krish through the left bicep pushing him against the wall.

In defense of Officer Krish’s life, his partner fired three rounds at the suspect. The suspect pulled the knife out of Officer Krish’s arm and charged at his partner, who fired again, striking the suspect and stopping the attack. Officer Krish was bleeding profusely and going into shock. Police officers at the scene managed to slow the blood loss until paramedics arrived and were able to rush Officer Krish to the hospital.

For his selfless actions of heroism and bravery, his swift and decisive actions and for risking his life to save the lives of others, the Medal of Valor is bestowed upon: Police Officer Allan Krish

Police Officer Miguel Ruano
On July 30, 2011, Police Officer Miguel Ruano and his partner, assigned to Hollenbeck Division, were working patrol when they received a radio call for assistance. Paramedics were transporting a suspect who jumped out of a moving ambulance, struck his head on the pavement, and was knocked unconsciousness. As paramedics treated the injured suspect, he regained consciousness, punched a paramedic, and ran away forcing his way into a nearby church.

Officer Ruano and his partner observed the suspect hiding behind a pillar, armed with a bent metal pole. After several unsuccessful attempts to persuade the suspect to surrender, Officer Ruano and his partner led a systematic search for the suspect inside the church. With the assistance of a K-9 search team, Officer Ruano and his partner searched several rooms when the K-9 alerted to a room behind a locked door.

Officer Ruano and his partner, armed with a bean bag shotgun, positioned themselves adjacent to the door. As another officer unlocked the door with a key, the suspect would relock it from the other side. Officer Ruano kicked the door open twice and each time the suspect would close the door. On the third attempt, the K-9 tried
to enter the room but got trapped between the doorway as the suspect again tried to close the door.

Officer Ruano kicked the door again to free the K-9 when he observed the suspect armed with a large knife. Officer Ruano yelled to advise his fellow officers of the large knife when the suspect raised his arm and lunged at the officers. Officer Ruano’s partner fired a round at the suspect as the suspect stabbed his partner through the left bicep pushing him against the wall.

Officer Ruano, in defense of his partner’s life, fired three rounds at the suspect. The suspect pulled the knife out of his partner’s arm and charged at Officer Ruano, who fired again, striking the suspect and stopping the attack. His partner was bleeding profusely and going into shock. Police officers at the scene managed to slow the blood loss
until paramedics arrived and were able to rush the wounded officer to the hospital.

For his selfless actions of heroism and bravery, his swift and decisive actions and for risking his life to save the lives of others, the Medal of Valor is bestowed upon: Police Officer Miguel Ruano

Police Officer Jonathan Vander Lee
On March 8, 2013, a radio call was broadcast about a man with a gun in dispute with a woman. A few minutes later a “shots-fired” radio call was broadcast. Southeast Area officers arrived to the location and saw that a truck had crashed into a parked car. The truck had its engine running and rear wheels spinning. The officers were unable to clearly see the inside of the truck as it was dark and raining. Officer Vander Lee and other officers approached and observed a male in the driver’s seat with a gunshot wound to the head.

A short time later, Officer Vander Lee summoned his partner who was armed with a police rifle, to assist with a possible suspect he observed inside a residence. Upon making contact, Officer Vander Lee and his partner heard a woman scream, followed by gunshots coming from inside the residence. As officers took fire, Officer Vander Lee and his partner found a position of cover on the east door of the residence. His partner saw the suspect point a gun toward them through a window. In immediate defense of his life and his fellow officers, Officer Vander Lee’s partner fired multiple rounds, causing the suspect to move away from the window and out of view. Officer Vander Lee and his partner tactically redeployed across the street behind a car while other officers were positioned around the residence to contain the suspect.

The suspect began firing rounds through the walls of the residence in the direction of the officers. Officer Vander Lee saw a confused and scared child exit the residence holding an infant in his arms. Officer Vander Lee’s partner yelled to the child to walk toward him but the child froze. Officer Vander Lee knew time was of the essence as the suspect continued shooting in the direction of the children. Officer Vander Lee quickly formed a tactical plan to rescue the children from across the street. Working as a two officer team, Officer Vander Lee left his position of cover and immediately crossed the street to pick up the children and move them to a safe location. The child told Officer Vander Lee his younger sibling was still inside the residence. SWAT officers arrived and made entry into the residence and discovered two deceased adults with the younger sibling still alive.

For displaying extreme bravery and courage in the face of imminent danger while confronting an armed suspect, and for exposing yourself to gun fire to rescue two young children, the Medal of Valor is bestowed upon: Police Officer Jonathan Vander Lee

Police Officer Mario Vega
On the night of February 7, 2013, Officer Mario Vega and his partner assigned to Newton Division patrol, responded to the Operations-Central Bureau, Command Post. They were assigned to a protection detail for LAPD police officers who were possible targets of terminated LAPD Officer Christopher Dorner, the suspect wanted in a double homicide in Irvine. Three days prior, the suspect had killed the daughter of a retired LAPD captain and her fiancé, a public safety officer for the USC Department of Public Safety.

Officer Vega and his partner were assigned to a protection detail in the city of Corona where they would meet two police officers at a residence. When they exited the 15 freeway they were approached a by a citizen who advised them a man matching the suspect’s description had recently left a nearby gas station. Officer Vega observed a truck entering the freeway on ramp that matched the suspect’s vehicle. Officer Vega and his partner began following the truck and requested a back up unit to assist them but were not able to contact Communication Division as their radios would not transmit outside the city limits.

Officer Vega and his partner followed the truck for five miles when it exited the freeway and came to a stop. Unable to notify any other police officers of their situation, Officer Vega and his partner prepared for a possible ambush.

Officer Vega and his partner stopped their vehicle and immediately the suspect exited the truck. Without warning, the suspect began firing at the officers from an assault rifle. The fast rate of fire from the suspect’s assault rifle shattered the front windshield and disabled the police vehicle. The persistent gunfire pinned Officer Vega and his partner inside the vehicle, preventing them from escaping and driving away.

Officer Vega exited the vehicle and took a kneeling position behind the passenger door where he returned fire at the suspect. His partner was wounded when a bullet grazed the top of his head.

The suspect got back into his vehicle and fled the scene. Officer Vega and his partner were stranded and unable to follow the suspect. Officer Vega flagged down multiple people who assisted them in calling 911. They provided the suspect’s description, direction of travel and requested a rescue ambulance for his partner.

For his courage and bravery, his quick clear thinking, smart tactics, attention to duty while serving in an unfamiliar area with no means of communicating to other police units, the Medal of Valor is bestowed upon: Police Officer Mario Vega

Detective Perry Moore
On the evening of February 5, 1992, Detective Perry Moore from Narcotics Group’s, Field Enforcement Section, West Bureau Unit, was assigned toa search warrant team in the 1400 block of South Sycamore Avenue. Detective Moore was at the forefront of the operation, as the handheld ram operator positioned at the front door of an apartment unit being searched for narcotics and firearms.

When the search warrant team knocked on the door of the apartment, Detective Moore heard the sounds of movement inside. Believing the occupants would not comply with orders to open the door, Detective Moore used the battering ram to force entry. The momentum of the ram pulled Detective Moore into the living room causing him to lose his balance. Detective Moore moved to the side to regain his balance and clear the path for the entry team. AsDetective Moore struggled to regain his balance he saw a suspect standing in a nearby hallway. The suspect, armed with a handgun, fired at Detective Moore striking him in the right lower abdomen. Detective Moore yelled to his partners he had been shot and slumped onto a sofa in the living room.

Detective Moore’s partner returned fire at the suspect who ran through the hallway to escape. A second unarmed suspect was caught in the return fire and was shot. Ultimately, four suspects, including the shooter, were taken into custody. Detective Moore was taken to a nearby hospital, and underwent two surgeries, the second of which occurred months later to remove the bullet.

Detective Moore fully recovered from his injuries and proudly served 32 years as a dedicated detective with the Los Angeles Police Department until his retirement in April 2007.

For bravely leading a search warrant team directly into an unpredictably dangerous location where he sustained a serious injury, and for his dedication in the service of law enforcement, the Purple Heart is bestowed upon: Detective Perry Moore

Police Officer Charles Walker Block
On the afternoon of September 23, 1985, Officer Charles Block, a two year veteran with the Department, was working patrol in Pacific Division. While stopped at a red light intersection, Officer Block heard over the radio, that a nearby patrol unit was requesting him to conduct a traffic stop on a speeding car. The patrol officers requesting the traffic stop were unable to take enforcement action as they were involved in another police investigation. Officer Block observed four suspects inside the speeding vehicle and was unaware that the driver of the car was on parole for burglary and forgery in the state of Georgia. It was later learned that the driver was the same suspect wanted for committing a store robbery with a sawed-off shotgun, stealing a car and a revolver gun from a pawn shop.

As Officer Block attempted to conduct a traffic stop, the suspect made a right turn and rapidly sped away. Officer Block immediately followed the suspect’s car and notified Communications Division that he was in pursuit. The pursuit reached high speeds of 80 miles per hour as the suspect weaved through heavy traffic. During the pursuit,  the suspect lost control of the vehicle and almost crashed into a city bus. After two and a half miles, the suspect entered the Los Angeles International Airport where he lost control of the car and crashed into a concrete overpass support pillar.

Officer Block tactically parked his patrol vehicle approximately eight feet behind the suspect’s car. The armed suspect exited the car and immediately fired two rounds at Officer Block. Officer Block returned fire and was struck by gunshots in both legs causing him to fall to the ground. Officer Block knew the suspect posed a serious threat to the public and continued firing as the suspect ran to escape. Although seriously wounded, Officer Block was able to stand up, get to the police car and broadcast an “officer needs help” call. Officer Block also found the strength to broadcast the suspect’s description to responding officers.

The suspect was eventually arrested by officers as he tried to carjack a driver at gunpoint. Officer Block continued to cover the remaining three individuals in the suspect’s car until additional officers arrived.

On January 6, 1986, Officer Block returned to full duty and continued his service to the people of Los Angeles until his retirement on February 28, 2011. Officer Block proudly served 28 years as a dedicated police officer of the Los Angeles Police Department.

For displaying extreme bravery and courage while confronting an armed suspect and for utilizing outstanding tactics, communication skills and common sense while being seriously wounded, the Purple Heart is bestowed upon: Police Officer Charles Walker Block

Sergeant Dennis Diviak
On the evening of September 11, 1998, then Police Officer II+II Diviak, was assigned to South Traffic Division, two wheeled motorcycle assignment on the DUI Enforcement Team. As Officer Diviak entered into the center median onto Crenshaw Boulevard just south of Stocker Avenue, his motorcycle was broadsided by a vehicle travelling in excess of 40 miles per hour. The driver of the vehicle was a Rolling “60’s Crip gang member and “Third Strike” parolee, who had been driving under the influence and veered his vehicle over into the center turning lane, colliding into Officer Diviak’s motorcycle. The driver fled from the location leaving Diviak severely injured in the roadway.

Officer Diviak was ejected from his motorcycle and landed face down on the pavement. Officer Diviak sustained major multiple injuries including a skull fracture, broken eye orbit, crushed upper sinus cavity, fractured nose, lumbar herniation, fractured left hand, and two broken teeth. Officer Diviak spent six days in the hospital for medical treatment. Officer Diviak required multiple reconstructive surgeries and eight months of rehabilitation before returning to his duties as a Motor Officer.

For sustaining severe injuries while on patrol to serve and protect the people of the City of Los Angeles, the Purple Heart award is bestowed upon: Sergeant Dennis Diviak

Sergeant Donald Boon
On the morning of January 15, 1998, Officer Donald Boon and his partner, assigned to Foothill Division, responded to a “violent male mental, possibly armed with a handgun” radio call. The suspect’s wife called 911 after her husband threatened to kill her and their son. Officer Boon and his partner arrived at the residence and knocked on the door. When no one opened the door, Officer Boon and his partner started to gather information from the person reporting the incident. While officers began preparing the suspect’s neighbors for evacuation, the suspect exited the residence and ambushed Officer Boon’s partner.

Officer Boon’s partner was injured and slumped forward with his face down. Officer Boon believed his partner was severely wounded as he made no attempt to return fire or take cover. Fearing the suspect would shoot again, Officer Boon left his position of cover to shield and protect his partner. As he reached his partner, Officer Boon was shot in the hip leaving him unable to walk. Officer Boon returned fire forcing the suspect back into the residence.

The suspect barricaded himself inside his residence. A rescue call was made drawing dozens of patrol officers and the SWAT Team to the location. Two officers dragged Officer Boon to cover and began treating him for the serious wound. Officer Boon was rescued and taken to a local hospital. Officer Boon endured a serious gunshot wound that required multiple surgeries. After years of rehabilitation, he returned to full duty.

Robbery Homicide Division Detectives believe that if it had not been for Officer Boon’s swift and concise actions, his partner would have undoubtedly been seriously injured or killed.

For his heroic actions, Officer Boon received the Police Medal, the Los Angeles Police Department’s second highest award for bravery.

For displaying extreme courage and valor in the face of imminent danger while confronting an armed suspect, and for sustaining a serious injury while protecting the life of his fellow officer, the Purple Heart is bestowed upon: Sergeant Donald Boon

Detective Christopher Chavez
In the early morning hours of April 12, 2003, Officer Christopher Chavez and his partner, assigned to the Wilshire Division Gang Enforcement Detail,were stationary at a crime scene perimeter for a murder suspect trying to escape the area. Officer Chavez and his partner monitored the perimeter standing on the driver side of their patrol vehicle. Without warning, a minivan plowed into Officer Chavez and his partner. The driver of the minivan was under the influenceof alcohol.

 Officer Chavez’s body struck the car doors with such a strong impact it forced the car doors to open in the opposite direction. Officer Chavez and his partner were pinned between the open doors of their patrol vehicle and the minivan. Officer Chavez struck his head on the ground which rendered him
unconscious. After colliding into Officer Chavez and his partner, the suspect driver fled the scene.

 Officer Chavez’s partner was also struck by the minivan but did not receive serious injuries. Officer Chavez was dragged off the street and out of harm’s way by his partner who stabilized him. His partner immediately broadcasted an “officer need help” call.

Officer Chavez was rushed to a hospital. His injuries consisted of a three inch laceration to his left elbow, severe head trauma from the blunt force, and internal bleeding within the brain. As a result of his injuries, Officer Chavez remained in a comma for five days. Doctors believed Officer Chavez was at high risk and may not survive the significant injuries. Officer Chavez was hospitalized for two months and required seven months of physical therapy to relearn how to walk, talk, and perform everyday functions.

Officer Chavez was told he would not be able to return to police work and would be forced to medically retire. Officer Chavez refused medical retirement and returned to full duty within seven months. Due to his determination, perseverance, and love for public service, Officer Chavez was able to overcome all mental and physical disabilities.

For overcoming life threatening injuries sustained while protecting the community from a homicide suspect, the Purple Heart is bestowed upon: Detective Christopher Chavez

Sergeant Paul Mattson
On the night of January 19, 1983, Sergeant Paul Mattson was the Officer In Charge of the Operations-Valley Bureau’s Major Crimes Task Force.Sergeant Mattson had been assigned to apprehend two suspects responsible for vicious crimes in North Hollywood Division. A week earlier the suspects kidnapped a couple from a shopping center, took them to a remote area where they robbed and killed them. Sergeant Mattson and his 10 officers developed a plan to capture the murder suspects.

The strategy was to use Sergeant Mattson as a form of bait to attract the suspects. At the intersection of Burbank Boulevard and Vineland Avenue, Sergeant Mattson sat alone in an unmarked car with task force officers watching nearby. Two suspects noticed Sergeant Mattson and approached the driver side door intending to rob him at gunpoint and steal the car. Immediately Sergeant Mattson drew his gun and fired twice at the suspects through the car window, striking one of the suspects in the chest. The other suspect returned fire. Sergeant Mattson received a serious gunshot wound to his right hand.

The two suspects attempted to run away as they continued to exchange gunfire with police officers. One suspect was fatally shot trying to climb a chain link fence. The second suspect was arrested as he tried getting into a getaway car driven by a third suspect.

Sergeant Mattson’s right hand was substantially wounded and required two hours of reconstructive surgery. After a successful surgery, Sergeant Mattson returned to duty the following month and remained with the Los Angeles Police Department until his retirement in June 1993.

For his perseverance and bravery during a shootout with homicide suspects and for his sacrifice that caused traumatic physical injury while protecting the people of the City of Los Angeles, the Purple Heart is bestowed upon: Sergeant Paul Mattson

Police Officer Leon Maya
In the early morning hours of April 12, 2003, Officer Leon Maya and his partner, assigned to Wilshire Division’s Gang Enforcement Detail, were stationary at a crime scene perimeter for a murder suspect trying to escape the area. Officer Maya and his partner monitored the perimeter while standing
on the driver side of their patrol vehicle. Without warning, a minivan plowed into Officer Maya and his partner. The driver of the minivan was under the influence of alcohol.

Officer Maya and his partner were pinned between the open doors of their patrol vehicle and the minivan. Officer Maya’s partner was struck with such a strong impact it forced the doors to open in the opposite direction. After colliding into Officer Maya and his partner, the driver fled the scene.

Officer Maya was also struck by the minivan but was not as seriously injured as his partner. After gaining his composure, Officer Maya saw his partner laying on the street, unconscious with traumatic head injuries. Realizing his partner was in danger of being run over by passing vehicles, ignoring his personal injuries and under tremendous physical pain, Officer Maya dragged his partner out of harm’s way. After stabilizing and comforting his partner and
friend, Officer Maya broadcast an “officer needs help” call.

Officer Maya and his partner were rushed to a hospital. Officer Maya was admitted for contusions to his head and face and a broken ankle. Officer Maya would require five operations over a 10 year period to allow him to walk without assistance. Due to his determination, perseverance, and love for public service, Officer Maya not only overcame all physical challenges and disabilities, but later joined the Los Angeles Police Department’s elite Metropolitan Division.

For overcoming severe injuries sustained while protecting the community from a homicide suspect, the Purple Heart is bestowed upon: Police Officer Leon Maya

Lieutenant Byron Young
On March 4, 1974, Los Angeles Police Officer Byron Young and his partner, assigned to Van Nuys Area, observed a suspect possibly driving under the influence. Officer Young and his partner followed the truck to initiate a traffic stop. The suspect pulled into a residential driveway, quickly exited the truck along with other passengers, and was extremely aggressive and confrontational. Simultaneously, numerous people came out of the house, shouting and making threats to both officers.

Officer Young and his partner requested “back-up” and attempted to administer a field sobriety test to the suspect. The suspect refused and turned to walk away. As Officer Young grabbed the suspect’s arm to detain him, the suspect punched Officer Young in the head, sparking a violent melee. Without warning, all 12 people rushed the two officers and began kicking and punching them.

Officer Young was thrown to the ground and beaten, punched, struck with blunt objects, and kicked in the head and mouth with steel toe work boots. Officer Young was in the fight for his life as the suspects managed to remove his firearm from his holster. As the suspects continued their violent attack, Officer Young had his baton taken away from him. Officer Young regained control of his firearm. He managed to stand up and saw his partner laying unconscious on the ground. Officer Young broadcast a “help call” and was attacked again. As the sound of sirens were heard, the suspects ran away.

Having difficulty staying on his feet and remaining conscious, Officer Young held onto the light bar on top of the police car, standing next to his partner. The suspect came out of the house carrying a 12 inch kitchen knife and ran toward Officer Young screaming he was going to kill him. Officer Young aimed his firearm at the suspect and due to his injuries, had trouble holding his aim. Officer Young was prepared to fire when the suspect’s sister threw herself in front of her brother to stop him. The suspect threw the knife at Officer Young, sending it flying past his head. Then suspect then ran back inside the house. Additional officers arrived ending the 20 minute ordeal.

Officer Young’s injuries included a concussion, broken nose, fractured ribs and major damage to his jaws and teeth. He required dental surgery for decades.

For knowingly and willingly placing himself in grave danger and risk when attempting to apprehend a suspect, and while confronting a violent mob who caused major traumatic injuries, the Purple Heart is bestowed upon: Lieutenant Byron Young
Police Officer Stephanie Galicia
On the morning of March 7, 2014, Police Officer Stephanie Galicia, Serial No. 41404, and her partner, Officer Nicholas Lee, Serial No.34980, were assigned to Hollywood Division day watch patrol. They responded “Code Three,” with emergency lights and siren, to a call for service. Their route of travel would take them briefly into the city of Beverly Hills to gain access to the street that would lead them to their destination in the Hollywood Hills.


Without warning, a runaway construction truck plowed into the officers’ police vehicle causing a disastrous traffic collision. The officers’ police car was crushed, trapping Officer Galicia and Officer Lee inside. Officer Lee was killed instantly. A massive response of emergency personnel from the city of Los Angeles and Beverly Hills converged on the area with specialized equipment in efforts to extricate Officer Galicia
and her partner from the police car. After extensive and frantic work to access the passenger compartment, the rescuers were forced to cut off the top of the police vehicle to gain access to the trapped officers. Officer Galicia was ultimately extricated from the vehicle and rushed to a local hospital and listed in critical condition.

Due to the catastrophic damage to the police vehicle, it was several hours before Officer Lee could be removed from the vehicle. Police officers and firefighters stood at attention as Officer Lee’s flag-draped body was moved to the coroner’s van. The van was then led in a procession that passed Hollywood Community Police Station, where her fellow brother and sister police officers stood at attention. Civilians and community members lined the street to pay their respects.

 For her courage and bravery and for overcoming critical injuries sustained while protecting the people of the city of Los Angeles, the Purple Heart is bestowed upon: Police Officer Stephanie Galicia


Police Officer Richard Medina
In the early morning hours of May 3, 2014, Police Officer Richard Medina and his partner/best friend, Officer Roberto Sanchez, were assigned to work Harbor Division patrol and set off to do what they loved to do, work the streets and serve the community. It was Officer Sanchez’s turn to drive the black and white police vehicle. Little did Medina know it would be the last night working alongside his best friend.

Officer Medina and Officer Sanchez witnessed a vehicle complete a donut in the middle of the street and screech its tires. The vehicle then sped off, emitting smoke from the friction. Officer Sanchez made a left turn and began to follow the suspect’s vehicle to initiate a traffic stop. As the officers made the left hand turn, they drove past a second vehicle, an SUV, which was stopped east bound in the number one lane.

Officer Medina and Officer Sanchez caught up to the suspect’s car. Officer Medina switched on the police vehicle’s “take down” spotlights and illuminated the suspect’s vehicle and the surrounding area. The suspect’s vehicle pulled toward the right curb and made a U-turn. Officer Sanchez slowed down the police vehicle and pulled toward the right curb, and began to make a U-turn to follow the vehicle.

Without warning, the driver of the SUV chased after the police car. Driving with excessive speed, the SUV crossed over the double yellow lines and into the opposite lane of travel. The driver of the SUV intentionally, violently crashed into the police vehicle. The police car was hit with such a tremendous force it caused catastrophic damage to the driver’s side.

Both suspects abandoned their heavily damaged vehicle and ran away, without rendering aid to Officer Medina and Officer Sanchez who were trapped inside their police car, critically injured.

Tragically, Officer Roberto Sanchez was killed in the line of duty by the suspect who intentionally prevented him from taking enforcement action.

For his courage and bravery and for overcoming critical injuries sustained while protecting the people of the city of Los Angeles, the Purple Heart is bestowed upon: Police Officer Richard Medina

Police Officer James P. Flint
On the morning of June 6, 1982, Officer James P. Flint, was assigned to patrol in the North Hollywood Area, Field Services Division. Flint responded to a call for service regarding a domestic dispute at an apartment building in the 12300 block of Sherman Way.

Officer Flint interviewed both parties involved in the domestic dispute. At the completion of the investigation, Officer Flint walked down a hallway toward the building’s exit. Without warning, the suspect Officer Flint had just interviewed, came out of the apartment armed with .45 caliber handgun and fired two rounds. Both shots struck Officer Flint in the back. Even though he was suffering from two gunshot wounds, Officer Flint managed to exit the hallway and make it to the second floor landing as the suspect fired an additional two rounds at him. Incredibly, withstanding intense physical pain, Officer Flint descended the stairs to the first floor of the building and made his way to the apartment manager’s office where he collapsed and received help.

The suspect fled to a nearby residence where he forcibly entered a garage. The resident confronted the suspect and a struggle ensued.

The suspect fired two rounds, striking the resident one time. Additional Good Samaritans joined in the struggle and held the suspect until police officers arrived.

For his courage and bravery under fire, and for overcoming life threatening injuries sustained while protecting the people of the City of Los Angeles, the Purple Heart is bestowed upon: Police Officer James P. Flint

Policeman Charles F. Hallenbeck
On the evening of July 26, 1962, Policeman Charles Hallenbeck and his partner were in a vehicle working a plainclothes assignment in 77th Division. It was Policeman Hallenbeck’s first night as a plainclothes officer.

While patrolling the area, and sitting in the front passenger seat of their vehicle, Policeman Hallenbeck witnessed a stolen car rapidly depart the location of a liquor store robbery. Policeman Hallenbeck broadcast the license plate number over the police radio and initiated a pursuit. Policeman Hallenbeck and his partner were able to pull up adjacent to the suspects’ vehicle as it traveled in the area of 190th Street near Compton Avenue. Without warning, the suspect deliberately swerved his vehicle into the Policeman Hallenbeck’s car, forcing the officers’ vehicle off the road and to jump the curb. The officers’ car travelled approximately 70 feet along a parkway until it collided with a utility pole. The utility pole was dislocated from its base and the police car rolled over onto its roof. Tragically, though his partner survived the impact, Policeman Hallenbeck was fatally injured, and the suspects fled the scene. After an exhaustive one month manhunt, six suspects were arrested and booked for the murder of Policeman Hallenbeck.

For going above and beyond the normal demands of police service and for making the ultimate sacrifice while
protecting the people of the City of Los Angeles, the Purple Heart Award is posthumously bestowed upon: Policeman Charles F. Hallenbeck

Sergeant Richards Matthews
On the night of February 17, 1969, Officer Richard Matthews and his partner were assigned to a juvenile car in 77th Street Division. Officer Matthews and his partner received and responded to a radio call about a domestic argument in the 10500 block of South Central Avenue. The message urged officers to use caution because the suspect was possibly armed with a gun.

Upon arrival to the location, Officer Matthews and his partner were directed to the second story of an apartment building. “They’re up there in number two,” a man told the officers. As they continued to approach, the officers heard arguing and one gunshot that appeared to be coming from a second story balcony.

As Officer Matthews drew closer to the building, his position was illuminated by a porch light on a lower-level apartment unit. Officer Matthews approached the light bulb and began to unscrew it. At that moment, several gunshots rang out from the second floor. Officer Matthews was struck in his left hand and the right side of his hip. In spite of being hit, Officer Matthews and his partner returned fire, striking the suspect who succumbed to his injuries. Officer Matthews was transported to a local hospital where he was treated for the gunshot wound to his hand and the bullet surgically removed from his hip.

As soon as he could, Officer Matthews returned to work and shortly promoted to the rank of sergeant. Sergeant Matthews continued working until his retirement in August 1978.

For his courage and bravery under fire, and for overcoming critical injuries sustained while protecting the people of the City of Los Angeles, the Purple Heart is bestowed upon: Sergeant Richard Matthews

Police Officer Roberto Sanchez
In the early morning hours of May 3, 2014, Police Officer Roberto Sanchez and his partner/best friend, Officer Richard Medina, were assigned to work Harbor Division patrol and set off to do what they loved to do, work the streets and serve the community. It was Officer Sanchez’s turn to drive the black and white police vehicle.

Officer Sanchez and his partner witnessed a vehicle complete a donut in the middle of the street and screech its tires. The vehicle then sped off, emitting smoke from the friction. Officer Sanchez made a left turn and began to follow the suspect’s vehicle to initiate a traffic stop. As the officers made the left hand turn, they drove past a second vehicle, an SUV, which was stopped east bound in the number one lane.

Officer Sanchez and Officer Medina caught up to the suspect’s car. Officer Medina switched on the police vehicle’s “take down” spotlights and illuminated the suspect’s vehicle and the surrounding area. The suspect’s vehicle pulled toward the right curb and made a U-turn. Officer Sanchez slowed down the police vehicle and pulled toward the right curb, and began to make a U-turn to follow the vehicle.

Without warning, the driver of the SUV chased after the police car. Driving with excessive speed, the SUV crossed over the double yellow lines and into the opposite lane of travel. The driver of the SUV intentionally, violently crashed into the police vehicle. The police car was hit with such a tremendous force it caused catastrophic damage to the driver’s side.

Tragically, Officer Sanchez was killed in the line of duty by a suspect who intentionally prevented him from taking enforcement action.

For going above and beyond the normal demands of police service and for making the ultimate sacrifice while protecting the people of the City of Los Angeles, the Purple Heart Award is posthumously bestowed upon: Police Officer Roberto Sanchez
Police Officer Christopher Cortijo
On April 5, 2014, while working a Valley Traffic Division DUI Task Force, Motor Officer Christopher Cortijo was stopped at a red light at Lankershim Boulevard and Saticoy Street.

A driver, later determined as driving while being under the influence of narcotics, was traveling southbound on Lankershim Boulevard when she rear-ended her vehicle into Officer Cortijo and his motorcycle. The collision caused Officer Cortijo’s motorcycle to crash into the vehicle stopped in front of him.

Officer Cortijo was crushed between the two vehicles. A Good Samaritan used Officer Cortijo’s police radio to broadcast a “Help Call.” Officer Cortijo’s fellow officers responded and escorted the ambulance with Officer Cortijo to Holy Cross Hospital. On April 9, 2014, Officer Cortijo died from the injuries he sustained from the collision.

Officer Cortijo was a 26-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department. During the course of his law enforcement career, he arrested more than 3,000 violators for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.

Days prior to the collision, Officer Cortijo was named the 2013 Valley Traffic Division Motor Officer of the Year. Officer Cortijo was also honored by Mothers’ Against Drunk Drivers during the course of his law enforcement career and continues to be honored posthumously.

For going above and beyond the normal demands of police service and for making the ultimate sacrifice while protecting the people of the City of Los Angeles, the Purple Heart Award is posthumously bestowed upon: Police Officer Christopher Cortijo

Police Officer Nicholas Lee
On the morning of March 7, 2014, Police Officer Nicholas Lee, and his partner, three months out of the Police Academy, was assigned toHollywood Division day watch patrol. They responded “Code Three,” with emergency lights and siren, to a call for service. Their route of travel would take them briefly into the city of Beverly Hills to gain access to the street that would lead them to their destination in the Hollywood Hills.

Without warning, a runaway construction truck plowed into the officers’ police vehicle causing a disastrous traffic collision. Officer Lee was killed instantly. The police vehicle was crushed trapping Officer Lee and his partner inside.

A massive response of emergency personnel from the city of Los Angeles and Beverly Hills converged on the area with specialized equipment in effort to extricate Officer Lee and his partner from the vehicle. After extensive and frantic work to access the passenger compartment, the rescuers were forced to cut off the top of the vehicle to gain access to the trapped officers. Officer Lee’s partner was ultimately extricated from the vehicle. She was rushed to a local hospital and listed in critical condition.

Due to the catastrophic damage to the police vehicle, it was several hours before Officer Lee could be removed from the vehicle. Police officers and firefighters stood at attention as his flag-draped body was moved to the coroner’s van. The van was then led in a procession that passed Hollywood Community Police Station, where his fellow brother and sister police officers stood at attention. Civilians and community members lined the street to pay their respects.

For going above and beyond the normal demands of police service and for making the ultimate sacrifice while protecting the people of the City of Los Angeles, the Purple Heart Award is posthumously bestowed upon: Police Officer Nicholas Lee