CHICAGO (CBS) – City officials presented the top awards for extraordinary bravery to Chicago police officers and firefighters Tuesday morning at a ceremony at City Hall.
WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, the city’s Carter Harrison Award was presented to Police Officers Jeffrey Friedlieb and Ruben Del Valle, who shot and pursued a drug suspect, after he shot them.
Friedlieb managed to shoot the suspect after both officers had been shot in the head.
“After I got shot, I went down, and luckily I was still conscious, so I was able to fire back, and wound the offender,” he said.
Del Valle credited their training for their quick reactions.
“You know, your adrenaline takes over, and you’re really just thinking about catching the guy,” he said. “So, you know, my partner was able to fire back, and we both assisted each other up, and chased the offender.”
Other officers arrived and took Del Valle and Friedlieb to the hospital.
Friedlieb still has a bullet lodged behind his left ear. The suspect was later arrested and charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder.
At the same ceremony on Tuesday, the city’s Lambert Tree Award was presented to Fire Lt. John Majka, and Firefighter Anthony Licato, for saving an elderly woman from a burning building.
Like the other heroes honored on Tuesday, Majka doesn’t wear the label easily.
“I’m a little overwhelmed, honestly. I’d much rather be at the firehouse right now,” he said.
Majka rushed into a burning house in October 2012, even before crews could begin dousing the flames, to rescue a 94-year-old woman who was trapped in a second-floor bedroom.
“Any two guys in our battalion, in that position, would have done the same thing, and I really mean that,” Majka said. “We just happened to be first up that day. Everyone on Engine 93 did their jobs, did them well, and a life was saved, and we all went home in the morning. And that’s a good day any day at the firehouse.”
As Majka was pulling the woman into a hallway, Licato arrived with the first fire hose, and helped bring the woman down the stairs.
“Pretty much just protect him, see if he needs help, work together as a team – and that’s exactly what we did – and a life was saved,” Licato said.