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Disclaimer:
The LAPDonline.org® website has made reasonable efforts to provide an accurate translation. However, no automated or computerized translation is perfect and is not intended to replace human or traditional translation methods. The official text is the English version of the LAPDonline.org® website. If any questions arise concerning the accuracy of the information presented by the translated version of the website, please refer to the English edition of the website, which is the official version.

 
2002 Medal of Valor Recipients
 
 
There are 6 officers being awarded the Medal of Valor this year.  Their citations are listed below. 

Sergeant Scott DeFoe
Police Officer Juan Gonzalez
Police Officer Gina Holmstrom Police Officer Brian O’Hara
Police Officer Ray Olivas
Police Officer David Stambaugh

 


Sergeant Scott DeFoe

On the afternoon of September 24, 2000, a 52-year old male armed with a .357 caliber revolver entered the yard of his former residence, and shot two rounds, injuring his ex-wife. The suspect fled on foot through a residential neighborhood, shooting two additional victims before reloading his weapon and continuing his deadly rampage by shooting a fourth victim. He then entered a business, taking a female hostage and forcing her outside to the sidewalk. After explaining that she had no money, the male suspect shot the hostage at point blank range. The suspect then entered a driveway of a residence and disappeared in the backyard near a wood storage shed and two parked vehicles.

Newton Area patrol units responded to the radio call, "Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Shots Fired." Air Support Division helicopters reported to the scene as ground personnel established a perimeter. Metropolitan Division, K-9 Unit Sergeant Scott DeFoe arrived on the scene with three other K-9 Unit officers. Fully aware of the danger and the fact that the suspect was an "active shooter" and posing an extreme threat to public safety, the K-9 Unit officers decided to initiate a search to pinpoint the exact location of the suspect.

A tactical plan was developed with a lead officer and a search dog initiating a search of the backyard. Sergeant DeFoe and another officer would provide cover, acting as rear guards, as a fourth officer was designated as the "point man." During the search, Sergeant DeFoe was in an open area when the search dog alerted the lead officer of the suspect’s location, inside the wood storage shed, behind its black wrought iron door. As Sergeant DeFoe was being hand signaled by the other officers as to the suspect’s location, the entire search team was fired upon by the suspect. In immediate defense of his life and the lives of his partners, Sergeant DeFoe fired three rounds from his .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol.

The only cover positions available were two vehicles parked in front of the wood storage shed. During an exchange of gunfire involving all four search team members and the suspect, three of the team members had reached the area of cover, at the rear of one of the vehicles. Sergeant DeFoe, still in the open and being fired upon by the suspect, fired two additional rounds, moving toward the search team location behind the vehicle. The suspect fired additional rounds into the vehicle as Sergeant DeFoe returned two more rounds at the suspect as he advanced to the rear of the vehicle to join the search team members. During the exchange of gunfire, the search dog returned to the lead officer and remained with the search team.

Realizing the escalating level of danger and threat to the K-9 Unit, Metropolitan Division "A" Platoon officers arrived in efforts to move the search team to a safer location. The lead officer and the search dog moved safely away from the vehicle to a nearby residence. As Sergeant DeFoe began to move away from the vehicle, the suspect again fired several rounds. In response, two of the other search team officers immediately stood up leaving their position of cover from behind the vehicle and fired at the suspect. Sergeant Defoe then safely reached the residence for cover.

Sergeant DeFoe and Metro "A" Platoon members formulated a plan to provide "cover fire" to safely extract the two remaining search team officers from the backyard. The officers provided cover as the remaining search team officers crawled and safely reached the cover of the residence.

Special Weapons and Tactics personnel arrived and after several attempts to extract the suspect proved unsuccessful, an armored vehicle was utilized to breach the structure. The suspect was found to have sustained injuries from numerous gunshot wounds and had expired from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Sergeant Scott DeFoe’s outstanding planning and tactical skills in an exceptionally dangerous environment and ability to function under the most stressful, chaotic and perilous conditions, embody the finest traditions of the Los Angeles Police Department. For these outstanding efforts, Sergeant DeFoe is hereby awarded the Medal of Valor.




Police Officer Juan Gonzalez

On the evening of September 20, 2001, Officer Juan Gonzalez and his partner were traveling southbound on the Golden State Freeway, approaching the Santa Monica Freeway in their police vehicle. The officers observed the vehicle in front of them blow a front tire. The driver of the vehicle lost control and veered to the right, colliding with a van also traveling southbound. Upon impact, the driver of the van lost control, with the van skidding and colliding with a wall. The collision with the wall caused the van to turn on its side. The driver of the vehicle with the blown tire managed to stop on the shoulder of the freeway.

Officer Gonzalez’ partner was able to maneuver the police vehicle away from both of the out of control vehicles, stopping on the shoulder about 100 feet south of the collision. The officers exited their vehicle and observed the van resting on its side, engulfed in flames. Officer Gonzales’ partner quickly retrieved a fire extinguisher from the police vehicle and both officers ran toward the burning van, while requesting assistance from the Fire Department on their radio.

Officer Gonzalez and his partner approached the van and saw the female driver trapped between the steering wheel and the driver’s seat. They also observed an elderly male in the passenger compartment. The officers heard screams for help, but were held at bay by the intense heat radiating from the burning van. Their fire extinguisher had little affect on the flames. The trapped victims continued crying for help as the flames surrounded them.

A passerby with another fire extinguisher assisted Officer Gonzalez and his partner. As the passerby minimized the flames with his fire extinguisher, the officers edged closer to the trapped victims. Attempting to carefully extract the female driver through the broken out windshield, the officers’ efforts were hampered by the victim’s leg being tangled in the steering wheel. Managing to free her leg, Officer Gonzalez, his partner and the citizen finally managed to pull the first victim to safety.

Officer Gonzalez, his partner and the citizen returned to the burning van and again encountered intense heat and flames. With the citizen again utilizing the fire extinguisher to reduce the flames, the officers extracted the second victim, the elderly man, from the burning van.

Officer Juan Gonzalez’ bravery, courage, and heroic actions in saving the lives of two victims by rescuing them from a burning vehicle, embody the finest traditions of the Los Angeles Police Department. For these outstanding and persistent efforts, Officer Gonzalez is hereby awarded the Medal of Valor.




Police Officer Gina Holmstrom

On the afternoon of September 24, 2000, a 52-year old male armed with a .357 caliber revolver entered the yard of his former residence, and shot two rounds, injuring his ex-wife. The suspect fled on foot through a residential neighborhood, shooting two additional victims before reloading his weapon and continuing his deadly rampage by shooting a fourth victim. He then entered a business, taking a female hostage and forcing her outside to the sidewalk. After explaining that she had no money, the male suspect shot the hostage at point blank range. The suspect then entered a driveway of a residence and disappeared in the backyard near a wood storage shed and two parked vehicles.

Newton Area patrol units responded to the radio call, "Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Shots Fired." Air Support Division helicopters reported to the scene as ground personnel established a perimeter. Metropolitan Division, K-9 Unit Officer Gina Holmstrom arrived first on the scene and briefed the three other K-9 Unit officers. Fully aware of the danger and the fact that the suspect was an "active shooter" and posing an extreme threat to public safety, the K-9 officers decided to initiate a search to pinpoint the exact location of the suspect.

A tactical plan was developed. It was decided that Officer Holmstrom and her search dog Maxx would conduct the initial search of the backyard. Two other officers would provide cover acting as rear guards, as a fourth officer was designated as the "point man." Monitoring the dog’s actions throughout the backyard search, Officer Holmstrom realized that the suspect was in the wood shed behind a black wrought iron door as Maxx gave the "alert" signal. As Officer Holmstrom hand signaled the other search team members of the suspect’s location, the suspect opened fire on the entire search team. Officer Holmstrom, realizing that she and her partners were not in a position of cover, immediately advanced toward the suspect, while she dove to the ground next to the driver’s side door of one of the parked vehicles.

Officer Holmstrom, fearing for her life and the lives of the search team, fired two shots directly into the door of the wood shed. Officer Holmstrom quickly crawled to the rear of the vehicle, as the suspect continued shooting at her. Aware that her partners were in an open area and attempting to reach cover, Officer Holmstrom fired additional cover rounds at the suspect. After an exchange of gunfire with all the search team members, each member was able to reach cover behind the vehicle. K-9 Maxx, returned unhurt, to Officer Holmstrom’s side.

Officer Holmstrom advised the air unit and perimeter units that her search team had been involved in an exchange of gunfire with the barricaded suspect and directed perimeter officers to remain in place. Because of the threat posed by the gunman to the search team, Metropolitan Division "A" Platoon officers arrived to extract the search team and move them to a safer location. Officer Holmstrom and K-9 Maxx safely moved from the vehicle to the corner of a residence. Metropolitan "A" Platoon officers also provided cover for as the remaining search team officers crawled and safely reached the cover of the residence.

Special Weapons and Tactics personnel arrived and after several attempts to extract the suspect proved unsuccessful, an armored vehicle was utilized to breach the structure. The suspect was found to have sustained injuries from numerous gunshot wounds and had expired from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Officer Gina Holmstrom’s tactical skills, teamwork, clear and collected thinking in an exceptionally dangerous environment, and her ability to function under the most stressful, chaotic and perilous conditions embody the finest traditions of the Los Angeles Police Department. For these outstanding efforts, Officer Holmstrom is hereby awarded the Medal of Valor.




Police Officer Brian O’Hara

On the afternoon of September 24, 2000, a 52-year old male armed with a .357 caliber revolver entered the yard of his former residence, and shot two rounds, injuring his ex-wife. The suspect fled on foot through a residential neighborhood, shooting two additional victims before reloading his weapon and continuing his deadly rampage by shooting a fourth victim. He then entered a business, taking a female hostage and forcing her outside to the sidewalk. After explaining that she had no money, the male suspect shot the hostage at point blank range. The suspect then entered a driveway of a residence and disappeared in the backyard near a wood storage shed and two parked vehicles.

Newton Area patrol units responded to the radio call, "Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Shots Fired." Air Support Division helicopters reported to the scene as ground personnel established a perimeter. Metropolitan Division, K-9 Unit Officer Brian O’Hara arrived on the scene with three other K-9 Unit officers. Fully aware of the danger and the fact that the suspect was an "active shooter" and posing an extreme threat to public safety, the K-9 officers decided to initiate a search to pinpoint the exact location of the suspect.

A tactical plan was developed with a lead officer and a search dog initiating a search of the backyard. Officer O’Hara was designated as the "point man." Two other officers would provide cover, acting as rear guards. When the search dog alerted the lead officer of the suspect’s location, inside the wood storage shed, Officer O’Hara was in an open area, less than 20 feet away. As Officer O’Hara was being signaled as to the suspect’s location, the entire search team was fired upon by the suspect. Officer O’Hara immediately advanced toward the suspect while attempting to obtain a position of cover by one of the parked vehicles where the lead search officer had also found cover.

As Officer O’Hara attempted to move, the suspect fired several rounds at him and the search team. Officer O’Hara advanced towards the suspect, without cover and fired two rounds from his semi-automatic shotgun in immediate defense of his life and the lives of his partners. Aware that two other officers were in an open area and trying to obtain cover behind the two vehicles, Officer O’Hara fired two additional rounds at the suspect as the two officers reached the vehicles and obtained cover. During the exchange of gunfire, the search dog returned to the lead officer and remained with the unharmed search team.

Realizing the escalating level of danger and threat to the K-9 Unit as they were pinned by the suspect’s gunfire, Metropolitan Division "A" Platoon officers arrived in efforts to move the search team to a safer location. The lead officer and the search dog moved safely away from the vehicle to a nearby residence. As another officer began to move away from the vehicle, the suspect again fired several rounds. In response, Officer O’Hara immediately stood up leaving his position of cover from behind the vehicle and fired at the suspect, as the officer safely reached the residence for cover. Metropolitan "A" Platoon officers provided cover for Officer O’Hara as he and the last search team member crawled and safely reached the cover of the residence.

Special Weapons and Tactics personnel arrived and after several attempts to extract the suspect proved unsuccessful, an armored vehicle was utilized to breach the structure. The suspect was found to have sustained injuries from numerous gunshot wounds and had expired from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Officer Brian O’Hara’s outstanding tactical skills in an exceptionally dangerous environment, and his ability to function under the most stressful, chaotic and perilous conditions during the exchange of gunfire, embody the finest traditions of the Los Angeles Police Department. For these outstanding efforts, Officer O’ Hara is hereby awarded with the Medal of Valor.




Police Officer Ray Olivas

On the evening of September 20, 2001, Officer Ray Olivas and his partner were traveling southbound on the Golden State Freeway, approaching the Santa Monica Freeway in their police vehicle. The officers observed the vehicle in front of them blow a front tire. The driver of the vehicle lost control and veered to the right, colliding with a van also traveling southbound. Upon impact, the driver of the van lost control, with the van skidding and colliding with a wall. The collision with the wall caused the van to turn on its side. The driver of the vehicle with the blown tire managed to stop on the shoulder of the freeway.

Officer Olivas was able to maneuver the police vehicle away from both of the out of control vehicles, stopping on the shoulder about 100 feet south of the collision. Both officers exited their vehicle and observed the van resting on its side, engulfed in flames. Officer Olivas quickly retrieved a fire extinguisher from the police vehicle and both officers ran toward the burning van, while requesting assistance from the Fire Department on their radio.

Officer Olivas and his partner approached the van and saw the female driver trapped between the steering wheel and the driver’s seat. They also observed an elderly male in the passenger compartment. The officers heard screams for help, but were held at bay by the intense heat radiating from the burning van. Their fire extinguisher had little affect on the flames. The trapped victims continued crying for help as the flames surrounded them.

A passerby with another fire extinguisher assisted Officer Olivas and his partner. As the passerby minimized the flames with his fire extinguisher, the officers edged closer to the trapped victims. Attempting to carefully extract the female driver through the broken out windshield, the officers’ efforts were hampered by the victim’s leg being tangled in the steering wheel. Managing to free her leg, Officer Olivas, his partner and the citizen finally managed to pull the first victim to safety.

Officer Olivas, his partner and the citizen returned to the burning van and again encountered intense heat and flames. With the citizen again utilizing the fire extinguisher to reduce the flames, the officers extracted the second victim, the elderly man, from the burning van.

Officer Olivas bravery, courage, and heroic actions in saving the lives of two victims by rescuing them from a burning vehicle, embody the finest traditions of the Los Angeles Police Department. For these outstanding and persistent efforts, Officer Olivas is hereby awarded the Medal of Valor.




Police Officer David Stambaugh

On the afternoon of September 24, 2000, a 52-year old male armed with a .357 caliber revolver entered the yard of his former residence, and shot two rounds, injuring his ex-wife. The suspect fled on foot through a residential neighborhood, shooting two additional victims before reloading his weapon and continuing his deadly rampage by shooting a fourth victim. He then entered a business, taking a female hostage and forcing her outside to the sidewalk. After explaining that she had no money, the male suspect shot the hostage at point blank range. The suspect then entered a driveway of a residence and disappeared in the backyard near a wood storage shed and two parked vehicles.

Newton Area patrol units responded to the radio call, "Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Shots Fired." Air Support Division helicopters reported to the scene as ground personnel established a perimeter. Metropolitan Division, K-9 Unit Officer David Stambaugh arrived on the scene with three other K-9 Unit officers. Fully aware of the danger and the fact that the suspect was an "active shooter" and posing an extreme threat to public safety, the K-9 officers decided to initiate a search to pinpoint the exact location of the suspect.

A tactical plan was developed with a lead officer and a search dog initiating a search of the backyard. Officer Stambaugh and another officer would provide cover acting as rear guards, as a fourth officer was designated as the "point man." When the search dog alerted the lead officer of the suspect’s location, inside the wood storage shed, Officer Stambaugh was in an open area. As Officer Stambaugh was being signaled as to the suspect’s location, the entire search team was fired upon by the suspect. Officer Stambaugh, now caught in the exchange of gunfire, headed for the parked vehicles for cover.

Upon arriving at the rear of the vehicle, the suspect fired several rounds striking the vehicle and breaking the windows. In immediate defense of his life and the lives of his partners, and aware that two officers were in an open area and trying to obtain cover, Officer Stambaugh fired two additional rounds at the suspect as the two officers reached the vehicles and obtained cover.

Realizing the escalating level of danger and threat to the K-9 Unit as they were pinned by the suspect’s gunfire, Officer Stambaugh contacted Metropolitan Division with his radio requesting assistance in moving the search team to a safer location. Metropolitan "A" Platoon arrived at the location and deployed providing cover for the search team. The lead officer and the search dog moved safely away from the vehicle to a nearby residence. As another member of the search team began to move away from the vehicle, the suspect again fired several rounds. In response, Officer Stambaugh immediately stood up leaving his position of cover from behind the vehicle and fired at the suspect, as the officer safely reached the residence for cover. Metropolitan "A" Platoon officers provided cover for Officer Stambaugh as he and the last officer crawled and safely reached the cover of the residence.

Special Weapons and Tactics personnel arrived and after several attempts to extract the suspect proved unsuccessful, an armored vehicle was utilized to breach the structure. The suspect was found to have sustained injuries from numerous gunshot wounds and had expired from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Officer David Stambaugh’s outstanding tactical skills in an exceptionally dangerous environment, and his ability to function under the most stressful, chaotic and perilous conditions during the exchange of gunfire, embody the finest traditions of the Los Angeles Police Department. For these outstanding efforts, Officer Stambaugh is hereby awarded with the Medal of Valor.

 
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