GARLAND (CBSDFW.COM) - It is National Police Week and today an officer with the Garland Police Department received the Medal of Valor from President Barack Obama.
He has never asked for a lot of recognition, but today he got a very big, public honor. Traffic Officer Gregory Stevens was working security at the Curtis Culwell Center when he saved lives by stopping a terrorist shooting in the city of Garland a year ago.
During the ceremony President Obama said, "Had it not been for their bravery we likely would have lost a lot of people… mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, friends and loved ones."
Stevens shot and killed two heavily armed suspects who opened fire outside the center. Hundreds of people had gathered inside the center for a controversial 'Draw Muhammed' art contest. Authorities say followers of the Islamic state group perpetrated the attack.
The statement from the White House said the Garland policeman received the award, "For demonstrating extraordinary courage to save lives. Officer Stevens exchanged gunfire at close range and subdued two heavily-armed assailants preventing a mass shooting."
Officer Stevens is one of 13 public safety officer who were recognized at the White House today.
In February, Stevens testified in court about the actions. He was humble and told a jury that his training kicked in and he did what he was trained to do.
The Medal of Valor is the highest national honor for a public safety officer.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz issued the following statement, recognizing Garland police Officer Gregory Stevens for receiving the esteemed Medal of Valor:
"Last year in Garland, Texas, Officer Gregory Stevens came face-to-face with two radical Islamic terrorists attempting to wage jihad on innocent Americans. Officer Stevens heroically thwarted the attack, preventing what could have been a terrible loss of life," Sen. Cruz said. "Today, in honor and recognition of his extraordinary courage and decisiveness, Officer Stevens deservedly received the Medal of Valor. I salute Officer Stevens for his dutiful service, and I remain forever grateful for his commitment to keep Texas safe."
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