by Devin Thomas

On May 23, eight Santa Barbara police officers were awarded the
H. Thomas Guerry Award for Valor in recognition of their
exceptional bravery and skill in the field. Sr. Deputy Clayton
Turner, Deputy Michael Harris, Deputy Jonathon Jenkins, Deputy
Kenneth Rushing, and Deputy Christopher Gotschall — who comprise
Goleta Patrol Squad D — were recognized for their response to late
January’s tragic postal service shootings. Squad D was the first to
arrive on the scene, where officers located three victims in the
parking lot. With the shooter still at large, the squad charged
inside the building and located a victim who had been shot in the
head, yet was miraculously still alive. Police protected the victim
until backup arrived, and the SWAT Team confirmed that the shooter
had fatally turned the gun on herself.

Officers James Ella, Darin Biamonte, and Larry Larson were
recognized for their heroic response to the tragic violence of
April 24, 2005, when the officers received a complaint about a
disturbance on Haley Street. There they found a 28-year-old
resident in a wild rage induced by crystal meth, threatening his
father with a knife and torch. The knifeman ignored pleas and
pepper spray, instead lashing out and screaming threats at the
officers. In the end, Officer Ella was forced to shoot and mortally
wounded the suspect when he rushed at police with the knife.


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