(WLS) Chicago Police Sgt. Leo Augle remembers the moment he looked at his partner who was bleeding from several gunshot wounds. It was May 2nd, 2017 in Back of the Yards, and a gunman armed with a rifle took aim at the two officers from a minivan.
“I just remember looking over and seeing my partner’s arm full of blood, dripping and dripping,” said Augle. Augle was also injured, taking approximately 17 pieces of shrapnel to his back and ribs.
Even bleeding and injured, the two officers fought back.
“As soon as the car was still shooting at us, we returned fire through our windshield,” Augle said.
The minivan stopped, but the shooter escaped. Chicago Police recognized Augle and Ryan Friday with three awards: The Blue Star for being injured on the job, the Superintendent’s Award of Valor, and the Police Medal of Honor, the highest honor available to the officers.
In all, CPD gave awards to more than 65 officers at the 57th Annual Recognition Ceremony Friday.
A total of three officers and one ATF agent have been shot during the last year in Back of the Yards.
Nearly three months after Augle and Ryan were shot, officers Victoria Mendoza and David Perez were pursuing several armed robbery suspects when gunfire rang out and Mendoza was hit.
“I feel my sock drenched. I see two holes in my pants and my blue pants are red. I’m in disbelief. I cannot be shot. I’m not shot,” she said she told herself.
Perez, not knowing his partner was hurt, chased the suspects immediately.
“I got to get them,” Perez said he thought to himself. “They just did a robbery, now they are shooting at us. Who else are they going to hurt? I just kept going.”
Perez radioed the suspects’ descriptions. He caught one of them, and other officers eventually caught the rest.
“To me,” Mendoza said, “my partner is my hero.”
Mendoza and Perez also received valor awards today.
Despite the shootings in the Back of the Yards, all four officers emphasize the neighborhood is mostly inhabited by law-abiding people.
“The people are such great people,” said Mendoza, a 3-year veteran on the force. “We are there to help them, to serve them. There are the same communities we are from too. We want them to know, ‘Hey, we’re here for you guys.'”
Article Org: abc7chicago.com