WASHINGTON (KABC) -- Eight Southern California police officers on Wednesday received the highest national honor given to public safety officials for exhibiting bravery.
President Donald Trump honored 14 officers and firefighters, including law enforcement from the Azusa and Irwindale Police Departments.
The Southland officers were honored for their actions during a mass shooting in Azusa on Election Day in 2016.
A 77-year-old man was killed and two women, ages 59 and 65, were critically injured in the shooting near an election site.
Carlos Mendez, a 45-year-old Azusa resident with a military background, was allegedly "binging on cocaine" when he opened fire on random passersby in Azusa and ambushed police officers before he was killed in a gun battle.
A massive law enforcement response followed, including SWAT teams and sheriff's helicopters, and the victims and the pinned-down officers were extracted to safety before it was confirmed the suspect had died at the scene.
The officers who were honored are Sgt. Thomas Avila III, Det. Manuel Campos, Sgt. Seth Chapman, Senior Officer Carlos Plascencia, Cpl. Andrew Rodriguez Sr., Ret. Sgt. Terry Smith Jr., Ret. Lt. Xavier Torres and Sgt. Rocky Wenrick.
"When they arrived, Carlos and Xavier raced through a hail of bullets to save a woman who had been shot in the head. At the same time, Terry, Andrew, and Seth returned fire. Tommy, Rocky, and Manuel drew the gunman out of his house, enabling their fellow officers to shoot him and bring the rampage to an end. A very dangerous situation," Trump said during the ceremony. "To each of you: You represent the unity, devotion, teamwork and swift action that makes America's law enforcement the best and bravest anywhere in the world."
VIDEO: Trump awards Azusa, Irwindale officers with Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor
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