U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Officer Gregory Stevens (Garland Police Department, TX)

Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor

Officer Gregory Stevens is honored for his heroic actions to protect the lives of civilians at a public event by engaging in a gun battle with two potential assassins bearing assault weapons, while he was armed only with his handgun.

On May 3, 2015, police officers from the Garland Police Department and security personnel from the Garland Independent School District were providing security for an event called "Draw the Prophet." The event, which drew about 150 people, was promoted as a "Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest."

Due to the high degree of controversy surrounding the event, which could be perceived as insulting to members of the Muslim faith, SWAT and bomb units were on hand to serve as security personnel. Garland Police Officer Gregory Stevens and unarmed Garland Independent School security officer Bruce Joiner were assigned to safeguard one of the parking lot entrances.

Shortly after the event ended and as attendees were leaving, a vehicle pulled up to the west entrance of the venue and stopped abruptly about 15 yards in front of Officers Stevens and Joiner. Two men wearing ballistic vests and armed with rifles and other weapons exited the vehicle and fired at the two officers. Officer Joiner took cover behind a nearby tree but was shot in the ankle.

Officer Stevens, who was caught in the open and without any additional backup assistance, returned fire and wounded first one and then the other assailant. Despite their wounds, both assailants continued to fire until additional officers joined the gunfight and fatally wounded both assailants. Officer Joiner was treated at a local hospital for his wound and released.

Date Published: September 8, 2020