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Officer Niel Johnson (North Miami Police Department, FL)

Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor

Officer Niel Johnson is honored for engaging in a gun battle with a suspect who was on a deadly crime spree and saving civilian lives.

On April 14, 2015, while working an off-duty security detail, Officer Johnson heard a radio transmission broadcasting a lookout for an armed suspect driving a stolen City of Miami marked police car. Shortly thereafter, he heard gunshots. Fearing for the safety of community residents, he headed toward the sound of the gunfire.

The man he encountered was wielding an assault rifle. He fired several times at Officer Johnson from close range. Officer Johnson maintained his composure and returned fire, striking the man and ending the assault.

Over the course of the crime spree, the man vandalized taxi cabs, shot at a Miami police officer, stole the officer's car, and shot a bystander and an innocent motorist. Had it not been for the swift, valiant, and selfless actions of Officer Johnson, the gunman would likely have continued his crime spree, potentially injuring and killing others in the area.

The injured suspect was taken into custody and charged with numerous crimes, including attempted murder, attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, and shooting or throwing a deadly missile into an occupied vehicle.

Date Published: September 8, 2020