A Los Angeles firefighter critically wounded during last year's riots was honored Sunday by leaders of a church near the South-Central Los Angeles neighborhood where he was shot.
Capt. Scott Miller was given First African Methodist Episcopal Church's FAME award for setting an example of tolerance after a sniper's bullet left him partially paralyzed.
"His courage was not demolished. Instead, you sensed and felt his aura of tolerance. . . . Capt. Miller, First AME Church is proud to know you," the Rev. J. L. Armstrong said in presenting the award.
After the service, Miller said that he could best serve the community by overcoming his anger and bitterness. "The emotion that's best for everyone involved is not one of hate, but one of forgiveness," he said.
Miller was shot while driving a hook and ladder truck a few blocks from the church on the night of April 29 as rioting erupted after the not guilty verdicts in the police beating of Rodney G. King. The bullet pierced Miller's cheek and severed his carotid artery, leaving him paralyzed on his left side. After extensive rehabilitation, he can walk and speak above a whisper.
Miller, who has been assigned a desk job in the Fire Department while undergoing therapy for two hours a day to regain the use of his left arm and hand, said he hopes to return to fieldwork some day.