2002 LAPD Medal of Valor Award Ceremony

August 25, 2002

Los Angeles Police Department Chief of Police Martin H. Pomeroy, Medal of Valor Recipients
2002 Medal of Valor Award Ceremony
Thursday, September 5, 2002 at 11:00 a.m.
Westin Bonaventure Hotel, California Ballroom, 404 South Figueroa Street

Los Angeles: Since 1925, the medal of Valor Award has been presented to the men and women of the Los Angeles Police Department who have distinguished themselves by acts of heroism and bravery above and beyond the normal demands of police service.
The Medal of Valor is the highest award the Department bestows upon officers, and to date, the Department has honored 498 recipients with this distinguished decoration. This year, the Medal of Valor will be awarded to six officers.

Sergeant Scott DeFoe Metropolitan Division, K-9 Unit

Officer Gina Holmstrom Metropolitan Division, K-9 Unit

Officer Brian O’Hara Metropolitan Division, K-9 Unit

Officer David Stambaugh Metropolitan Division, K-9 Unit

On the afternoon of September 24, 2000, a 52 year-old male suspect, armed with a .357 caliber revolver, entered his former residence and shot his ex-wife. Fleeing on foot through the residential neighborhood, the suspect then shot three additional victims before taking a female hostage and ultimately shooting her at blank range. Fearing police apprehension, the suspect then ran and hid into a nearby backyard, which contained a shed and two parked vehicles.
Assigned to the Metropolitan Division K-9 search Unit, Sergeant DeFoe and Officers Holmstrom, O’Hara and Stambaugh responded to the scene and formulated a plan to search and apprehend the suspect. A dangerous tactical mission, the LAPD officers and supervisor then engaged the suspect who was hiding inside of the backyard shed.
Suddenly, an exchange of gunfire erupted with the officers taking cover from the hail of bullets fired by the suspect. Protecting each other, the officers returned fire until every officer reached a safe position and could still contain the suspect within the backyard. The officers maintained the perimeter until reinforcement Metropolitan Division officers arrived. Special Weapons and Tactics personnel attempted to extract the gunman and an armored vehicle was utilized to enter the hiding place of the suspect. Inside the shed, the SWAT officers found that the suspect had been wounded and subsequently died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Officer Ray Olivas LAPD Training Division

Officer Juan Gonzalez Newton Community Area Division

On the evening of September 20, 2001, Officer Ray Olivas and his partner, Officer Juan Gonzalez, 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 and collide with a van that was traveling in the same direction. The van, with two occupants inside, flipped over and became engulfed in flames. Facing intense heat and fire, the two officers battled the blaze with a fire extinguisher from their vehicle and pulled the driver and passenger from the overturned burning truck.
A news conference/photo opportunity is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. prior to the ceremony. Photos and biographies of the Medal of Valor recipients will be available at the press conference. For further information, contact Officer Joe Buscaino, Public Affairs Section 213-485-3281.
Photographs of the Medal of Valor recipients (including E-Mail) are available by contacting LAPD Media Relations, 213-485-3586.
This press release was prepared by Public Information Officer Jack Richter, Media Relations Section, 213-485-3586.