NEW YORK: A 27-year-old Indian-origin New York Police Department (NYPD) officer and nine others were honoured by US President Joe Biden with the Medal of Valour, the country’s highest award for public safety officers.
Sumit Sulan was honoured at a White House ceremony on Wednesday for shooting a convicted felon who killed two of his colleagues when the trio were investigating a domestic-violence call in New York City in January.
According to the police, three policemen — Mr Sulan, Jason Rivera, 22 and Wilbert Mora, 27, visited the Harlem neighbourhood in New York to investigate a 911 call from a distressed woman whose grown-up son threatened her and his brother.
The convicted felon ambushed the three officers, shooting at Rivera and Mora, who later died of their injuries. Mr Sulan was praised by the US president at the May 17 ceremony for swiftly jumping into action, despite being a rookie with the NYPD at that time.
Today, President Biden awarded nine brave Americans the Medal of Valor – the highest award this country can bestow on a public safety officer.
Today, we joined our Nation in honoring our brave fallen heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice, First Grade Detectives Jason Rivera & Wilbert Mora.
For his bravery that night Detective Sumit Sulan joined his brothers in receiving the Medal of Valor from the President.
“Detective Sulan had only been then — with the precinct — the 32nd Precinct, for two months… He shielded the mother and brother from gunfire, then drew his weapon to fire twice, hitting the gunman and ending the incident,” Mr Biden was quoted as saying in a White House press release.
Mr Sulan “ensured the safety of the civilians on the scene and struck down the gunman with his service weapon, bringing an end to the deadly episode just 45 seconds after it had begun,” Biden, who met Sulan shortly after the incident, said.
“..The entire nation is grateful for the quick thinking, swift action, and courage under fire that he demonstrated,” Biden said, adding that the officers’ poise and valour saved lives.
“He did a great job,” Mr Sulan’s mother said of her son, who emigrated from India about 15 years ago, while a law-enforcement source described him as a “super rookie” after the incident.
The Medal of Valour is given for actions above and beyond the call of duty and exhibiting exceptional courage, extraordinary decisiveness, presence of mind, and unusual swiftness in action, regardless of his or her (officer’s) personal safety, in an attempt to save or protect human life, according to the press release.