Attorney General Jeff Sessions honored several Las Vegas police officers Monday, citing their heroic action and sacrifice during the Vegas shooting in October 2017.
The seven officers Sessions chose to honor during National Peace Officers Memorial Week put their lives on the line during the massacre. One of the officers, Charleston Hartfield, was killed, and others continued trying to save concert-goers despite being shot, according to the Department of Justice. The Las Vegas massacre was the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, killing 58 and wounding nearly 500 more.
Here are Sessions remarks, in part, as prepared for delivery Monday at the National Association of Police Organizations Annual Top Cops Awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.:
Every time an officer in the United States dies in the line of duty, it comes across my desk. And as a small expression of my appreciation, I send a condolence letter to their families.
Each has their own story. They are inspiring stories of compassion, bravery, tragedy, and sacrifice.
That includes Officer Charleston Hartfield of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
Charlie – or “Coach Chucky,” as he was known to the kids he coached in football – was off-duty at a country music concert with his wife when he heard gunfire.
What happened next was the deadliest mass shooting in American history.
Officer Hartfield shielded and protected other concertgoers as they fled to safety. But he did not escape. Officer Hartfield lost his life that night.
Charlie Hartfield exemplified what it means to serve in law enforcement. Even when off-duty, his instinct was to run towards danger so that others could run away from it.
And we see that same spirit of selflessness in each of tonights award winners.
In fact, some of Officer Hartfields brothers and sisters in blue are with us here this evening from the Las Vegas Metro PD. And, whether they were on duty or off duty—without thinking of their own safety—they sprang into action that night to save lives. They are true American heroes.
They include Sergeant Greg Everett, who helped set up a triage area to treat the wounded.
They include Sergeant Joshua Bitsko and SWAT Officer Levi Hancock who breached the room where the shooter was stationed.
Detective Richard Golgart got a phone call that night that his own daughter had been shot. But he kept going and he finished what he was doing: transporting injured men and women to the hospital.
That awful night was Officer Brady Cooks second day on the job. He was shot multiple times while attempting to draw fire away from the crowd.
Sheriff Lombardo—who is also here tonight—tells us that just a few days later, Brady asked to come back to work.
I also want to mention Officer Casey Clarkson. While he was shepherding people toward the exits and providing cover for them, he was shot in the neck.
But he decided to stay there and keep working. I think he put it best when he said, “If Im going to die, [then] Im going to help somebody [first].”
“All of these officers acted selflessly in the face of overwhelming danger,” Sessions said. “Countless people are alive today because of such courage. This courage was seen in Las Vegas and is constantly seen around the country.” (RELATED: Was The Vegas Shooter Planning An Attack In LA?)
The Vegas shooter used a vantage point from the iconic Mandalay Bay hotel to rain down fire on concert-goers at a country music festival across the street. Ge fired for nearly 10 minutes, according to police reports and witness accounts. Staff at the Mandalay Bay hotel interacted with the shooter in the days leading up to — and on the day of — the shooting. (RELATED: Questions Still Hanging Over Vegas Mass Murder Report)
Police announced in January that charges remained possible in the case, but months later, the case seems to have been closed.
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