DC officers honored for heroic response during Navy Yard shootin - New York News

DC officers honored for heroic response during Navy Yard shooting

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WASHINGTON -

Many lives were lost on September 16th of last year. A lone gunman opened fire at the Washington Navy Yard. But lives were also saved because of the heroic efforts of first responders and officers. Some of them were honored Wednesday in the District.

Early that September morning, reports of shots fired inside the Navy Yard started coming in. A massive police response was dispatched immediately.

“We heard the gunshots,” said D.C. police officer Emmanuel Smith. “We never saw [Aaron] Alexis. We just heard the gunfire.”

Smith was hunting down Alexis on the third floor of the building with Officers Dorian DeSantis and Scott Williams at his side. Suddenly, one of them was hit.

“I was the rear containment guy and I swung around and that's when I saw Officer Williams fall to the floor,” said Smith.

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier and the Washington D.C. Police Foundation awarded the officers for their bravery that day. Lanier said the officers pushed forward despite the danger.

“It was tactically a nightmare,” said Chief Lanier. “You can’t see over the cubicles. There are very narrow hallways.”

“To continue to pursue a suspect that you can't see, that continues to shoot at you for an hour and nine minutes is not something that happens every day. And for these three, there was no thought to it. They just did what they had to do.”

And while under fire from Alexis, they also protected each other. After one officer was shot in the legs, their priority became getting him immediate medical care.

“At one point, I slumped my weapon and I began to drag him as well, got him to the stairwell, then we pretty much just put him on our back and did a fireman’s carry,” Smith said.

Officer Smith said he only heard two shots fired, but learned later that the team had been fired on six or seven times.

Chief Lanier said this tragedy also served as a learning experience. They have taken video from the Navy Yard and watched how this entire incident was carried out and are using it to train other officers who may find themselves in a similar situation.

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