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5 LAPD Officers Honored From Area

September 07, 2000|KARIMA A. HAYNES

Ten LAPD officers--including five from the San Fernando Valley--were awarded the Medal of Valor at a ceremony Wednesday in downtown Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Police Chief Bernard C. Parks presented the department's highest award to Sgt. Joan Leuck and Officers Cynthia French and Romik Keshishi of the North Hollywood Division; Officers Manuel Solis and Lazaro Ramirez of the Foothill Division; Officers Ronald Chavarrias and Robert Farias of the Hollenbeck Division CRASH unit, and Officers Francisco Dominguez, Peter McCoy and Jason Thompson of the Pacific Division.

As Parks decorated the officers, actor Craig T. Nelson recounted the incidents, including two Valley shootings in 1998, in which the officers exhibited uncommon courage:

In January 1998, a Lake View Terrace man fired an assault weapon at officers Solis and Don Boon, who had been called to the man's home to quell a domestic dispute.

A bullet fragment grazed Solis' face as he dragged Boon to safety behind a car after Boon was shot in the hip. Ramirez ran to help Solis with Boon while firing additional rounds at the suspect.

In December 1998, French and her partner, Officer Paul Lin, were investigating a report of a man with a gun at the Bluffside Drive apartment complex in Studio City when the man opened fire on them from his apartment. French returned fire and was shot several times. She was dragged to safety and carried to an ambulance by four officers. She suffered gunshot wounds to her lungs and liver.

When the gunman, James Travis McCracken, moved to the entrance of the apartment building garage and continued to shoot at officers, Leuck and Keshishi returned fire, killing him.

Since 1925, the Medal of Valor has been presented to men and women of the Los Angeles Police Department who have distinguished themselves by acts of heroism and bravery above and beyond the normal demands of police service, officials said.

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