(WASHINGTON D.C.) - President Obama Saturday honored an Indiana State Trooper at the White House.
Senior Trooper Eric Nash, of Lyons, has been selected as a National Association of Police Officers Top Cop.
Trooper Nash rescued a Greene County Deputy Sheriff who was caught in gunfire while responding to a domestic dispute in July of 2012
President Barrack Obama meet the officers in the White House's Rose Garden.
The TOP COPS are selected by a NAPO awards selection committee comprised of national law enforcement representatives who choose one TOP COPS case from each state and U.S. territory. The cases are then ranked and the top 10 case winners are flown to Washington, DC for the awards ceremony.
Nick Schneider, of the Greene County Daily World reports, when Nash arrived on the scene off State Road 45 near Owensburg on the morning of July 4, 2012, he found Greene County Sheriff's Department Deputy James O'Malley on the ground bleeding from a shotgun blast to the leg.
Rural Owensburg resident Michael Lane Jr., 25, had barricaded himself inside of a home and fired at officers upon arrival.
O'Malley was the first officer on the scene and shots were exchanged.
Nash arrived a few minutes after numerous pellets from a shotgun hit O'Malley.
O'Malley says he credits Nash with saving his life that day.
"I really thought he deserved to get something," O'Malley said. "Definitely that was a bad situation. My biggest concern after I got shot -- I returned fire and had taken cover behind my vehicle, but there was a back door to the house. I had checked out the house before I ever knocked on the door and got the woman out of the house. I was concerned that he was going to come out the back door and circle through the woods and I basically didn't have any place to go."
O'Malley said Nash then backed his vehicle, which had been shot several times, down the driveway toward the house to rescue him.
"He backed his car down there and got out and yelled for me to run over there and jump into his back seat and he would get me out of there. I was losing a lot of blood at the time and I told him I didn't know if I could make that run or not -- a distance of about 20 yards," O'Malley explained.
"I jumped into his car (and) we drove up the road by the driveway and he tore my pants and applied bandages and stuff to my leg. Then he took cover because we were still getting shot at."
O'Malley has recovered from the gunshot wounds and has returned to regular duties.
Nash hid behind a tree and as additional troopers arrived Lane stepped outside of the home and fired more rounds.
The deputy said a far more serious incident was probably averted by Nash's quick actions.
"We were by ourselves, it seemed like a long time. I think I fired eight or nine times, but he (Lane) was still shooting at us," O'Malley said. "My concern was he was going to get in the woods. We were in his territory."
After nearly 10 minutes of gunfire, the ERS team used the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team's Robot to go into the home where Lane's body was found.
Lane died of a single gunshot wound to the chest, said Greene County Coroner Sherry Wilson.
O'Malley suffered shotgun wounds to both legs and still has about 19 pellets left in his legs. The doctors have determined it would do more damage trying to remove them, so they opted to leave them.
"I was fortunate that Eric (Nash) showed up when he did," O'Malley added.
Greene County Deputy Sheriff Brad Deckard was also hit in the shoulder by gunfire from Lane, but his injuries were less serious and was treated and released at IU Health Bloomington Hospital.
According to a news release from the NAPO, Nash is being presented the award for his "ability to keep cool under deadly fire, his willingness to risk his life for a brother officer, and his determination to help put an end to a potentially deadly shoot-out."
Nash had already started east towards Washington, DC on Thursday and was unavailable for comment.
Indiana State Police Public Information Officer Curt Durnil said, "I can tell you that Eric Nash is extremely humbled by this award and feels undeserving. I can also tell you with great confidence that the actions of Senior Trooper Nash on July 4th, 2012, along with other law enforcement officers that day, saved lives.
"We are extremely proud of S/Trp. Nash and what he stands for."
WAVE-TV in Louisville Ky., reports that Nash was modest after the shooting incident stating, "I just reacted to the situation and did what had to be done. There were a lot of officers out there that day. We all had the same goal of being able to go home after shift."
Nash graduated from the Indiana State Police Recruit Academy in Plainfield on Dec. 13, 1999.
Other honorees are officers from the Los Angeles Police Department, Miami-Dade County Police Department, Chicago Police Department, Iowa State Patrol, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, City of Henderson (NV) Police Department, Wayne (NJ) Police Department, New York City Police Department, Houston Police Department and Oak Creek (WI) Police Department.
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