WASHINGTON, DC - President Donald Trump is recognizing the heroism of civilians and public safety officers in last month’s deadly shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio.
“These incredible patriots responded to the worst violence and most barbaric hatred with the best of American courage character and strength,” Trump said at the White House on Monday as he shared a stage in the East Room with the 11 men and women.
“Faced with grave and harrowing threats, the men and women standing behind us stepped forward to save the lives of their fellow Americans,” he said.
Trump presented Heroic Commendations to five civilians who helped others as a gunman opened fire at the Cielo Vista Walmart in El Paso, killing 22 people and wounding many others on Aug. 3.
Among those recognized was Walmart store manager Robert Evans who was outside the store entrance when he heard the gunman fire his first shot and then went back inside the store to help direct customers toward the nearest emergency exits and employee Gilbert Serna, who also guided dozens of shoppers out a rear exit of the store and helping some people hide in shipping containers.
“A lot of people would just run for their lives. He cleared out the back area of the store a minute before the shooter got there. Gilbert, your unwavering resolve inspires us all,” the president told Serna.
Marisela Luna, the manager at the McDonald’s inside the Walmart, gathered helped customers hide in refrigerators and other hiding places. And Angelica Silva, a manager of another McDonald's, immediately drove over to the Walmart when she learned of the active shooter and assisted people in need of urgent medical attention.
Trump also awarded the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor to six officers who responded to the Aug. 3 mass shooting in Dayton. Nine people were killed and more than two dozen were wounded in the early morning attack in a bustling entertainment district.
Officers confronted the shooter within 30 seconds, a swift response credited with preventing more deaths.
The twin shootings, hours apart, sparked renewed national discussion of gun control -- a topic on Congress’ agenda as it returned to Washington on Monday.