President Trump honors Dayton police officers with Medal of Valor at White House ceremony

Posted at 1:34 PM, Sep 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-09 15:11:17-04

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump presented the nation's highest award for public safety Monday to six Dayton police officers who stopped the deadly mass shooting in the city's entertainment district last month.

The six officers received the Medal of Valor in a White House ceremony also attended by Attorney General William Barr.

WATCH the 22-minute ceremony below.

Honored were Sgt. William Chad Knight and officers Brian Rolfes, Jeremy Campbell, Vincent Carter, Ryan Nabel and David Denlinger. The president led a long round of applause for them and hung the medal on each man.

"Who can even understand how many lives would have been taken if they didn't act so quickly?" Trump said in his remarks in the East Room.

"Millions of Americans saw the video footage of these officers calmly charging forward in the midst of chaos and constant fire. Without a thought for their own safety they stood square to the target, executed their mission and brought down the murderer with precision gunfire

"To each of you, we are in awe of your quick response, sterling professionalism and rock-solid nerves of steel. On behalf of our entire nation, we thank you for your remarkable and heroic actions in the line of duty."

RELATED: Video shows police reacted quickly, heroically to end mass shooting

The Dayton officers were on duty in the Oregon District early Sunday, Aug. 4 and responded swiftly when a lone gunman opened fire on a crowded street, killing nine people and wounding 17 within seconds. The officers confronted the shooter, Connor Betts, and returned fire, killing him 32 seconds after the carnage began.

Trump also gave certificates of commendation to five civilians who helped others as a gunman opened fire at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas on Aug. 3, killing 22 people and wounding 27.

"In the midst of such profound anguish, one memory fills us with hope," Trump said. "When evil showed its hideous face, Americans of all walks of life rose up -- and they did, they rose up -- they defied fear, they stared down death to protect the innocent. And stand tall they did just for righteous and for good."

The president also acknowledged the family members of the heroes.

"You more than anyone understand the difference your loved ones have made in the lives of so many Americans," Trump said.

Barr made an exception in selecting the Dayton officers for the Medal of Valor since it is typically awarded once a year. Trump had already recognized 14 public safety officers with the Medal of Valor in May. Those honorees included Ohio State Police officer Alan Horujko, in recognition of his actions stopping an attack on campus in November 2016. Horujko graduated from Fairfield High School.

Barr said the law allows the attorney general to expand the number of recipients "when exceptional instances of bravery arise."

"So that's what we did this year," Barr said.