3 Officers Honored for Mass Shooting Response

The officers are credited with confronting and killing the gunman in the college library.

The White House honored three Santa Monica police officers for their response to the 2013 shootings that ended at Santa Monica College.

Jason Salas, Robert Sparks and Captain Raymond Bottenfield received the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor May 16 from President Obama, reports scpr.org.

Coincidentally, the president was in Santa Monica on the day of the shooting, and his presence has been credited with helping to bring a quick police response.

The shooting began when John Samir Zawahri shot his father and brother at their home before setting fire to the house. Zawahri then stopped a woman driving by and ordered her at gunpoint to drive to nearby Santa Monica College. On the way, Zawahri shot his semi-automatic rifle at passing drivers, a police cruiser and a city bus.

RELATED: Officer Credited with Preventing School Shooting to Be Honored

When Zawahri arrived on the college campus, he shot into a Ford Explorer, fatally wounding two people and critically injuring another. Zawahri shot and killed another person outside of the campus library before opening fire on students and employees inside.

Salas, Sparks and Bottenfield were among the officers who responded to the scene and are credited with confronting the gunman and killing him when he pointed his weapon at them.

The Justice Department says the president gives out the award each year “to public safety officers who have exhibited exceptional courage, regardless of personal safety, in the attempt to save or protect human life.”

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