AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Law enforcement officers and first responders who were hurt or killed in the line of duty were honored at the Texas State Capitol on Wednesday.
Gov. Greg Abbott bestowed Star of Texas awards on 50 recipients from local, state, and federal agencies.
“You never know when tragedy may strike, you never know what unexpected event could occur that puts your life on the line, that puts the lives of others on the line,” Abbott said. “What is what makes you genuine heroes is because we need people in the state of Texas who are willing to step up and go into that unknown moment.”
Arlington Police Corporal Alex Quintanilla was one of the honorees. He was shot in the hip by an armed man who ran from officers during a traffic stop in January. Officers shot and killed the suspect. The incident was captured on officer-worn and vehicle-mounted cameras.
“It all happens in the blink of an eye, you know, fraction of a second,” Quintanilla said Wednesday, breaking his silence eight months after the incident.
“For some reason, he’s running away and we need to figure out why,” Quintanilla recalled. “I saw a flash and I hit the ground.”
“That scene is ingrained in my brain right now,” Quintanilla said, “Him looking over his right shoulder and just seeing the flash of the fire of the gunshot.”
“It actually went through my gun belt buckle and into my left hip,” he explained.
Quintanilla wears a brace on his left leg and is off patrol duty, serving in the homeland security and special events unit while he recovers.
“This is the first time I am in uniform since that night, it’s amazing,” he said.
The honor was created in 2003, designating Sept. 11 as part of the establishment of Texas First Responders Day. The recognition aims to “commemorate individuals who made profound commitments while performing their duties as peace officers, firefighters and emergency medical first responders,” according to a statement from Abbott’s office.
“We will always remember the valor and the sacrifice of those who rushed toward that danger on 9/11 just as we will never forget the valor and sacrifice of the tremendous first responders that we have here in Texas every single day,’ Abbott said Wednesday.
Watch the entire ceremony here:
The complete list of recipients is as follows:
Fire Fighters Killed in the Line of Duty
- Daniel Edward Hampton – Burnet Fire Department
- Larry Grant Dalton – Dallas Fire-Rescue Department
- Marco Antonio Davila – Dallas Fire-Rescue Department
- Jeffery Lee Delbert – Dallas Fire-Rescue Department
- Charlie Jaimes – Dallas Fire-Rescue Department
- Thomas M. Johnson – Dallas Fire-Rescue Department
- Scott Deem – San Antonio Fire Department
Peace Officers Killed in the Line of Duty
- Earl J. Givens, III – Dallas Police Department
- Garrett W. Hull – Fort Worth Police Department
- Albert Castaneda, Jr. – Grand Prairie Police Department
- Nathan Hayden Heidelberg – Midland Police Department
- Raymond Bradley Jimmerson – Nacogdoches County Sheriff’s Office
- Mark Allen Cox – Real County Sheriff’s Office
- Korby Lee Kennedy – San Angelo Police Department
- Moises Sanchez – Texas Department of Public Safety
- David Jones Fitzpatrick – The Colony Police Department
- Timothy Gerard Olsovsky – Victoria County Sheriff’s Office
- Donna Doss – U.S. Customs And Border Protection, U.S. Border Patrol
- Norman Merkel – U.S. Department Of Justice, U.S. Marshals Service
- Loren Y. Vasquez – Waller County Sheriff’s Office
- Lonnie Verdell Burton – Wayland Baptist University Police Department
- Alejandro “Alex” Martinez – Willacy County Sheriff’s Office
- Jason Matthew Fann – Yoakum County Sheriff’s Office
Emergency Medical First Responders Seriously Injured in the Line of Duty
- Steven Ray Holden – U.S. Army
Fire Fighters Seriously Injured in the Line of Duty
- Brad Jay Phipps – San Antonio Fire Department
Peace Officers Seriously Injured in the Line of Duty
- Christopher S. Fegley – Arlington Police Department
- Alejandro “Alex” Quintanilla – Arlington Police Department
- Derek Baroody – Austin Police Department
- Luis E. Farias – City of Benavides Police Department
- Justin Todd Ellis – Dallas Area Rapid Transit Police Department
- Troy Lee Allison – Dallas Police Department
- Brannon Germald Barber – Dallas Police Department
- Javier Leyva – Ector County Sheriff’s Office
- Steven John McNeill – Ector County Sheriff’s Office
- Joshua Devin Pool – Ector County Sheriff’s Office
- Ricardo Rodriguez – Ector County Sheriff’s Office
- Cody Smith – Ector County Sheriff’s Office
- Calvin Gustav Lehmann – Fayette County Sheriff’s Department
- Christopher Gaines – Harris County Constable Precinct 4
- John Daily – Houston Police Department
- Luis Fuhlbrigge – Houston Police Department
- Nestor Garcia – Houston Police Department
- Alonzo Reid – Houston Police Department
- Matthew Victor Richard – Houston Police Department
- Elie Weston Van Horn – Port Arthur Police Department
- Claudia Ivette Cormier – San Marcos Police Department
- Justin Ray Holt – Silsbee Police Department
- Wesley C. Hensley – Texas Attorney General’s Office
- Travares L. Webb – Texas Department of Public Safety
- Henry Jennings Gilles – Trinity County Sheriff’s Office