ARTESIA, N.M. (KRQE) – Two southeastern New Mexico police officers were honored Friday for saving lives during an active shooter situation in the middle of a busy neighborhood.
In July 2016, officers responded to a call on Runyan Street in Artesia.
Police say 36-year-old Juan Duran was in the street of his neighborhood with two guns, firing shots. When police arrived, Duran hid behind a camper.
He was ultimately shot by police and died.
Friday, the police who were involved, Officer Beth Hanh and Corporal Antonio Baca, received the Medal of Valor for protecting the community.
“Although the recognition arises from a tragic set of circumstances, our purpose is not to suggest any satisfaction with the dismaying but necessary outcome of the incident in which a citizen of this community was lost,” said Artesia Police Chief Kirk E. Roberts at the Medal of Valor ceremony.
The Medal of Valor is the highest medal a police officer can receive.
KRQE News 13 also spoke with neighbors.
“I don’t know how to describe it. It was an awful day. I couldn’t actually believe what I was seeing,” said Randy Ingram, neighborhood resident.
“The police are the protectors of the community. Anytime they put their lives in danger they deserve an award,” said Juan Lugo, neighborhood resident.
“I really think they deserve it, they’re doing an excellent job protecting the people in this town,” said Ingram
KRQE News 13 did reach out to Duran’s family and the lawyer handling the case. They did not want to comment.