ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It was a scary day in Albuquerque: A man went on a shooting spree across town, ending with several officers shot and the suspect dead. Thursday, those officers were honored for their heroic actions that day.
Christopher Chase targeted officers on October 26, 2013, and he succeeded in hurting them. Some of those officers never received a proper honor for their actions.
“On that day our community experienced a great threat to public safety, as police officers were dispatched to a call with a man armed with an AK-47 threatening to kill civilians and police officers,” said Albuquerque Police Chief Mike Geier.
Six officers received Medals of Meritorious Service and Courage Under Fire for that day. One, the highest honor, the medal of valor.
Those officers were faced with a heavily armed suspect dressed in camouflage, a mask, and body armor, who took them on a 30 minute, four-mile chase through town, shooting the entire time.
It started near Broadway and Avenida Ceasar Chavez. He then shot one officer and stole his car. Officers pursued the suspect as he kept shooting. The chase ended at Fourth and Montano with the police car sprayed with bullets and the suspect dead.
“This unprecedented threat to public safety was finally rendered safe by the heroic actions of numerous officers, who stopped the offender’s homicidal actions by mortally wounding him and thereby saving countless lives,” Geier said.
Each of the officers honored Thursday played a different role. Officer Daniel Calt is the officer who located Chase and pursued him driving with one hand while firing an AR-15 out his own windshield with the other. Officer Shawn Lockey pursued the suspect, authorized deadly force and rendered first aid to Deputy Robin Hopkins, who was badly injured.
Officers Simon Drobik and Officer Luke McPeek were involved in the pursuit, and were among those who shot and killed the suspect as he once again reached for his gun. Officers Steve Lowell, Sharon Saavedra and James Burton were among the officers shot at that day, but still took action to save the lives of other officers.
The four officers who were injured that day have already been awarded the purple heart. All have recovered from their injuries.
Calt is only the 11th person to be awarded the medal of valor since it was created in 1981. Among the other officers to receive it: Daniel Webster, Richard Smith and Michael King. All three were killed in the line of duty.