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First responders’ valor recognized at Cincinnati ceremony

October 1, 2018
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Police Chief Eliot Isaac, left, shakes hands with Specialist Gregory Toyeas before awarding him a Medal of Valor in Cincinnati on Monday, Oct. 1, 2018. The ceremony honored valor and distinguished service shown by police officers and citizens who helped save lives when a man fatally shot three people and injured two in a bank lobby last month. (AP Photo/Angie Wang)

CINCINNATI (AP) — Hundreds of people applauded Monday as police officers and civilians who helped save lives during a gunman’s deadly downtown Cincinnati attack were recognized for valor and distinguished service.

Police killed the gunman inside the Fifth Third building’s lobby along Fountain Square Sept. 6. He had killed three civilians and wounded two more. Mayor John Cranley said the gunman had hundreds of rounds of ammunition that could’ve killed “many, many more people.”

He said the response was the “essence of public service” and showed the Cincinnati police officers’ training, discipline and bravery.

“No matter how much training you have, you have to have the courage to run into a dangerous situation,” Cranley said.

Officer Al Staples sang the national anthem. He had rushed inside to help a bank vice president who survived 12 gunshots .

Among the officers who opened fire on the gunman was Jennifer Chilton, who received a valor award.

“I’m very proud of her,” said her father Dan Chilton, a retired law enforcement officer.

“Before this happened, I thought she was the most incredible officer on the force,” said her stepmother, Charlene Chilton. “Now that this is over, I think the same thing.”

Police Chief Eliot Isaac said some 200 people were involved in the response, including dispatchers, call-takers and officers who swept the building, controlled traffic and helped the victims.

A bank security guard, Jared Draham, and a bank employee, Thomas Ritter, were honored for their bravery in efforts to save lives.

Police aren’t sure why Omar Enrique Santa Perez, 29, opened fire inside the building. Florida court records show family members had fought years ago to get him committed to a mental health facility.

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Follow Dan Sewell at http://www.twitter.com/dansewell

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