President Donald Trump recognized officers and civilians at the White House on Monday for responding to the mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, in August.
“These incredible patriots responded to the worst violence and most barbaric hatred with the best of American courage, character, and strength,” Trump said.
The president presented the Medal of Valor to six Dayton Police officers who stopped a mass shooter in less than a minute — Sgt. William C. Knight, Officer Brian Rolfes, Officer Jeremy Campbell, Officer Vincent Carter, Officer Ryan Nabel, and Officer David Denlinger.
Trump praised the officers for engaging and eliminating the shooter “without hesitation,” saving many lives.
“To each of you, we are in awe of your swift response, sterling professionalism, and rock solid nerves of steel,” he said.
Trump was joined by Attorney General Bill Barr, who thanked the president for standing by United States law enforcement.
“These officers were part of the thin blue line between life and death,” Barr said.
Barr explained that although the Medal of Valor was typically reserved for officers nominated by their peers for an award, he felt it necessary to honor the officers who helped stop the shooting in Dayton.
He said valor was specifically used to describe individuals who put themselves in mortal harm for the sake of others.
The president also honored five citizens from El Paso, Texas, giving them certificates of commendation.
“It was a racist attack motivated by pure evil and hatred,” Trump said about the attack in El Paso, pointing out five individuals at the Wal-mart during the shooting who responded heroicly.
Walmart Store Manager Robert Evans and employee Gilbert Serna and McDonald’s manager Marisela Luna were recognized for helping evacuate the store and hide shoppers from the shooter who attacked the store. McDonald’s supervisor Angelica Silva was recognized for alerting first responders and helping save the life of one of the victims.
“In the darkest moments of danger and despair, God calls the bravest to action,” Trump said. “These eleven individuals answered the call. They stared down evil. They put love of neighbor above life itself. And we are blessed by their courage.”
[Editor’s note: This article has been updated to remove mention of Chris Grant, who was honored by the president for distracting the El Paso shooter by throwing bottles of soda. “[O]ur detectives reviewed hours of video and his actions did not match his account,” El Paso police spokesman Sgt. Enrique Carrillo said in a statement to the Washington Examiner.]