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Officer David Sachs, Chula Vista Police Department, California

2017 State and Local Law Enforcement Congressional Badge of Bravery Recipient

On September 19, 2017, Chula Vista Police Officers David Sachs and Leo Banales and a department chaplain "ride-along" responded to a call about an assault with a deadly weapon. The victim stated that his neighbor threw a large piece of concrete over his fence, striking him and causing minor visible injuries. The victim pointed out the house of the suspect, and the officers went to the residence and attempted to make contact.

Officer Sachs knocked on the door, and the suspect's mother answered. The officers explained the reason for their contact, and the mother cooperatively invited them in to speak to her son. Her son, at the time of the incident, was 27 years old; 6 feet, 1 one inch tall; 270 pounds; and was a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic who was off his medication. As Officer Sachs entered the residence, he asked the mother if her son was violent, to which she responded, "Not usually."

As Officers Sachs and Banales and the chaplain entered the residence, the mother yelled to her son that the police wanted to talk to him. The suspect answered, "Okay, that's fine." Officers Sachs was first to enter the residence and did not see the suspect until he had entered the kitchen area. The suspect, without warning, instantly attacked Officer Sachs with a knife, stabbing him in his face, head, and arm. Officer Sachs immediately knocked the suspect to the ground while yelling, "Knife! Knife! Knife!" As Officer Sachs pushed away from the suspect, the suspect lunged at Officer Banales with the knife but missed. Officer Banales and the chaplain immediately exited the residence to create distance between them and the violent suspect.

Although Officer Sachs had been stabbed multiple times, he was able to draw his weapon while giving commands to the suspect to drop the knife. The suspect blocked Officer Sachs' exit and again tried to attack him with the knife. Officer Sachs immediately moved the suspect's mother behind him for safety, and then fired his gun multiple times striking the suspect, who collapsed inside the dining room. Once the threat ended, Officer Sachs exited the residence covered in blood from his stab wounds.

Responding officers provided medical aid to Officer Sachs' injuries by applying a tourniquet to his heavily bleeding arm and adding pressure to his stab wounds. Officer Sachs calmly provided direction and information to the responding officers during this chaotic scene. Once additional officers arrived, they entered the residence and rendered medical aid to the suspect. The suspect was transported to the hospital but later succumbed to his injuries.

Officer Sachs sustained six stab wounds from the suspect’s attack, requiring 30 stitches and a stay in the hospital. He had lacerations to the back of his head, three stab wounds to the face, and a stab wound above the right elbow nearly striking his brachial artery. The suspect's mother later confirmed in an interview that she saw her son come "barreling out of his room" while holding the knife. She stated, "He went right at the officers. I hate to say it, but they had no choice. They knocked him down, but he got up and went at them again. He wouldn't stop."

The actions of Officer David Sachs demonstrated extraordinary courage and bravery, and a willingness to protect the lives of others without regard to his own safety. His decisive actions prevented further injury and quickly ended this violent and unprovoked assault.


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