Officer Del Pearson receives top cop award at White House - New York News

Officer Del Pearson receives top cop award at White House

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

President Barack Obama praised the nation's police officers for courage and for signing up "to do some tough stuff."

Obama says the country saw what the police are made of last month, when many ran toward explosions near the Boston Marathon finish line not knowing what else they would face.

He also recalled citizens of Watertown, Mass., applauding police after they captured the second bombing suspect.

Obama said there are few opportunities to applaud the men and women who help keep the country safe - "but they're out there."

He spoke at a White House ceremony honoring the 2013 National Association of Police Organizations TOP COPS award winners. The group includes officers from California, Illinois, Iowa, Florida, Indiana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Texas and Wisconsin.

Chicago Police Officer Del Pearson was one of those honored in Washington Saturday morning, receiving the national top cop award.

He was nearly killed in the line of duty, and the president celebrated his recovery. Pearson was shot and seriously wounded last year during a foot chase on the South Side.

"I can remember looking at the offender and we were just shooting back and forth at each other till we both ran out of bullets," Pearson recalled during an interview at the 4th District Station where the three officers work on the city's southeast side last year.

Pearson, an eight-year veteran working on the night shift tactical team, was on patrol at about 10:30 p.m. in the 8400 block of South Kingston. He tried to question four young men suspected of violating the city's curfew. One ran. Pearson gave chase. When he cornered the suspect on the porch of a house the man opened fire.

Two fellow officers received the shots fired call, and rushed to Pearson's aid. The rushed him to the closest hospital, Advocate Trinity, as they tried to keep pressure on his wounds.

Pearson had been shot twice. His protective vest stopped the first bullet. The second slipped under the shoulder strap. It severed a main artery to Pearson's left arm. He lost nearly three quarters of his blood.

Once doctors stabilized Pearson, he was transferred to Advocate Christ where he underwent eight hours of surgery. Twice during the night hospital staff asked Pearson's family if they wanted a priest to give him last rights.

Eight days later, Pearson left the hospital to the cheers of fellow officers who lined up and saluted him.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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