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Deputy Justin Ferrari

Volusia County Sheriff's Office, FL

On July 24, 2016, the Volusia County Sheriff's Office received a call from a complainant that her estranged husband was holding her against her will inside their residence and preventing her from leaving. Deputy Justin Ferrari responded to the scene along with additional deputies. Prior to arrival, the deputies were advised that in addition to the female complainant, three young children were present during the altercation. When the responding deputies approached the front door, they heard shots being fired from inside the residence. The deputies immediately sought cover and could hear the female victim inside the residence screaming for help, as well as a male subject yelling that he was going to kill her. The deputies then heard a young child pleading, "Please don't kill mommy!" The child's pleas were followed by the sound of yet another gunshot.

With extremely heightened concern, the deputies sprung into tactical action as yet more gunshots came whizzing out of the residence. Moments later, the female complainant climbed out of a window while bleeding from a gunshot wound to her leg. The deputies returned fire and engaged in an active gunfight with the suspect.

With the victim outside of the house, but pinned down and in a tremendously vulnerable position at the front of the residence, Deputy Ferrari leapt into action. Leaving his position of cover, he exposed himself to the deadly threat by running into the gunfire to grab the bleeding victim and drag her approximately 80 feet to the safety of a neighbor's front door. Deputy Ferrari assured the victim that medical assistance was on its way and remained at her side in order to shield her from any additional harm.

Once relieved by another deputy with EMS training, who tended to the victim's injury, Deputy Ferrari re-entered the scene of the gunfight. The victim's estranged husband eventually surrendered to deputies with no further injury. During the surrender, Deputy Ferrari gathered up the three children, all unharmed, and reunited them with their mother. Their mother was airlifted to a hospital and treated for her injuries while her estranged husband was taken into custody.

The actions of Deputy Ferrari demonstrated extraordinary bravery, decisiveness, and a willingness to protect the lives of others, without regard to his own personal safety.