President Obama honors LAPD Officers

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(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – President Barack Obama praised a dozen Los Angeles police officers for rescuing civilians who were pinned down in a gun battle with a desperate murder suspect in downtown Los Angeles last September.

The LAPD cops were among hero police officers who were given the National Association of Police Organizations “Top Cop” awards by the president at the White House on Saturday.

“We don’t always get that opportunity to stand and applaud the men and women who keep us safe,” Obama said.

The L.A. honorees were sergeants Joel Miller and Sgt. Joseph Sanchez, and officers Hans Almaraz, Joseph Arevalo, Mark Austin, David Blake, Joseph Broussard, Juan Garcia, Bradford Gorby, Ryan Nguyen, Clinton Perez and Sean Schneider.

On Sept. 12, the L.A. officers arrested Ian Schlesinger after he allegedly carjacked a vehicle and led them on a chase from North Hollywood to downtown Los Angeles. Schlesinger had vowed to his friends that “he wouldn’t get caught alive,” and officers were aware of this while they were chasing him, according to police.

When he got to downtown Los Angeles, Schlesinger drove his stolen car through a traffic signal at Seventh and Bixel streets and crashed into another car, police said.

Schlesinger got out with a rifle, hid behind both damaged cars, and began shooting at the officers, who returned fire, police said.

During the shootout, officers rescued a civilian who had been pinned down by the gunfire, and one officer pulled the driver of the other car out of her damaged vehicle. Schlesinger was wounded and was taken into custody, police said.

According to a statement from the National Association of Police Organizations, “the Los Angeles police officers worked as cohesively as a well- oiled machine, trusting each other to perform their assigned tasks throughout this potentially deadly incident.”

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