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Officers Ryan Smith, Vincent Mendoza, and Robert Paul III (California Highway Patrol, California)

Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor

On August 12, 2019, California Highway Patrol Officer Robert Paul III was assisting Officer Andre Moye with an enforcement stop and vehicle impound in the City of Riverside. Without warning, the operator of the vehicle retrieved a rifle and opened fire. Officer Moye was struck and critically wounded. The assailant then began firing on Officer Paul, who immediately returned fire. During the engagement, Officer Paul was able to broadcast, "Officer down!" to the Communications Center, and additional units immediately responded to the scene.

Officer Paul sustained multiple gunshot wounds to both legs, but continued his courageous fight as he pulled himself left to right, keeping the assailant unsure of his location. The assailant moved between positions of cover behind vehicles as he attempted to advance on Officer Paul. Officer Paul was able to hold off the assailant until backup units arrived.

After several minutes, Officer Ryan Smith arrived on scene, and his patrol vehicle immediately began taking rounds fired by the assailant. He exited his patrol vehicle and returned fire, and while doing so, he was able to grab Officer Paul by his arms to pull him out of the line of fire. Although Officer Smith sustained wounds to both legs, he was able to pull Officer Paul over 100 feet to safety.

During this time, Officer Vincent Mendoza arrived and immediately engaged the suspect, utilizing a department-issued long rifle. His actions drew fire away from Officers Smith and Paul, so Riverside County Sheriff's deputies were able to evacuate Officer Paul from the scene and transport him to a medical center.

For more than 12 minutes, with the assistance of allied agencies that arrived on the scene, the firefight continued. It finally ended when the assailant was fatally wounded. Officer Moye was then medevacked, and Officer Smith was transported to the medical center.

Tragically, Officer Moye succumbed to his injuries. Both Officers Paul and Smith recovered from their injuries.

All the involved officers acted courageously during this unprovoked assault. The actions of Officers Robert Paul, Ryan Smith, and Vincent Mendoza demonstrated extraordinary valor and perseverance as they worked to save the life of Officer Andre Moye and end the violent assault by this assailant.

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Date Created: June 16, 2022