Two California Highway Patrol officers relieved the highest national award from Vice President Joe Biden.
Officers Sean Haller and Rafael Rivera were presented with the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor.
They were honored for their heroic efforts during the shootout in Minkler that claimed the lives of a Fresno County sheriff's deputy and a Reedley police officer on February 25, 2010.
Gunman Rick Liles fired hundreds of shots from his trailer, killing Fresno Deputy Joel Wahlenmaier and Reedley Police Corporal Javier Bejar.
Bejar was shot as soon as he stepped from his patrol car. He was pulled from the line of fire by a team of officers and deputies, that included Haller and Rivera. Bejar later died at the hospital.
Assistant Attorney General, Mary Lou Leary said, "Both Officer Haller and Officer Rivera placed themselves in immediate and intense danger to save a fellow officer.
The medals were presented by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Vice President Joe Biden, who praised the 18 law enforcement officers and fire fighters who received the medal during the ceremony. "You're the heart, you're the soul, you're the spine of the nation," said Vice President Biden.
Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims lost one of her deputies in Minkler and said there were many officers and deputies who risked their lives that day. "There were many heroic actions that day including these two CHP officers. They were valiant in their efforts and they certainly deserve the recognition they received," said Sheriff Mims.
Both officers have also received local and state awards for their actions during the Minkler incident.
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