CHICAGO (CBS) — Officers from the front line of the Mercy Hospital shooting were honored with officer of the month awards for bravery Tuesday.
Officers Elvis Turcinovic and Bernardo Quijano and Lt. Jacob Alderen were honored at a Chicago Police Memorial Foundation Ceremony.
They were some of the first responders answering the call to the Nov. 19 attack that took three lives, including that of a Chicago police officer.
Adrenaline, danger and instinct greeted officers at Mercy Hospital.
“It was chaotic inside,” said Officer Elvis Turcinovic, who shot and injured the gunman inside.
Before the gunman killed himself, he took the life of 28-year-old Jimenez and two hospital workers.
Officer Bernardo Quijano said his gun saved his life in a way he never imagined. He was hit by gunfire.
“I felt the impact,” he said. “Like a punch.”
The bullet went through his holster and lodged in his gun.
“I realize how close it was,” Quijano said. “Thank God I can still be here and perform this job and still take care of the people that need help.”
Quijano was outside trying to help one of those fatally shot.
Quijano said his 13 years of military training and five years of experience at CPD kicked in, allowing him — like his firearm — not to give in to life-threatening pressure.
“It’s probably not going to leave me for the rest of my life,” he said of his memories of what happened.
The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation awarded each its officer of the month award for bravery. It was a moment tempered by tragedy and sacrifice.
Separate ceremonies for fallen Officer Jiminez are scheduled in the months ahead.