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San Bernardino Shooting Heroes Awarded Medals Of Valor

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

San Bernardino Police Officer Nicholas Koahou poses for a photo with Gov. Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris after receiving the Medal of Valor in a ceremony at the state Capitol on Monday, Sept. 12, 2016.

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

Eight California public safety officers have been awarded Medals of Valor – including six who helped take down the suspects in the San Bernardino mass shooting last fall.

“We got a lot of mediocrity, we got a lot of polarization, we got a lot of politics,“ said Gov. Jerry Brown, who joined Attorney General Kamala Harris in honoring the recipients Monday at the state Capitol. “What we don’t have enough of is valor.”

One of the recipients was San Bernardino Police Ofc. Nicholas Koahou, who shot one of the two suspects, then sought to rescue a sheriff’s deputy pinned down by gunfire from the other suspect.

“As Koahou rose to his feet and moved towards the deputy, he was shot in his left leg and fell,“ said Lew Stone with the state firefighters union, who MC’d the ceremony. “Despite being wounded, Koahou continued to return fire at the remaining suspect.”

Five other law enforcement officers were honored for the plan they implemented to rescue Koahou and the pinned-down deputy.

Here's the full list of Medal of Valor recipients, which also included two honorees not connected to the San Bernardino shooting:

  • California Highway Patrol Officer Brett Peters
  • San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Firefighter Alexander Wallbrett
  • Redlands Police Department Officer Joseph Aguilar
  • San Bernardino Police Department Officer Nicholas Koahou
  • San Bernardino Police Department Officer Brian Olvera
  • San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department Corporal Rafael Ixco
  • San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department Deputy Bruce Southworth
  • San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department Corporal Chad Johnson

Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio