Sacramento, California - Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. joined Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today to present the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor to Sonora Police Department Officer Ryan D. Webb and San Bernardino Police Department Officer Marcus Pesquera, who went above and beyond the call of duty.
“The whole basis of any society is individuals who can act beyond their own particular interest and comfort and needs,” said Governor Brown at today's ceremony. “This ceremony is a very important way of communicating to the people of California that courage is still a fundamental pillar of our society.”
The Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor Act of 2003 gives the Governor the authority to award a Medal of Valor to public safety officers who are cited by the Attorney General for extraordinary valor above and beyond the call of duty. The Attorney General’s Office receives nominations from public safety agencies. These nominations are reviewed by the Medal of Valor Review Board, which makes a recommendation to the Attorney General.
“The two individuals we honor today have shown remarkable courage, skill, and selflessness in protecting their community and our society,” said Attorney General Harris. “These two individuals, like all men and women who wear the badge, do this work without any expectation of award or reward. They do it because they have taken a solemn duty to protect people they may never meet and people who may never know their names.”
Governor Brown and Attorney General Harris with Officer Pesquera (left) and Officer Webb (right)
The following individuals were awarded the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor today:
Sonora Police Department Officer Ryan D. Webb
On November 11, 2014, Officer Webb, an eight-year veteran of the department, was dispatched to a call of a man with a gun attempting to enter an occupied residence. As Officer Web responded to the call, dispatch advised him that the suspect had driven away from the area and described the vehicle. Officer Webb spotted the vehicle and a pursuit ensued. A short time later, the suspect yielded in downtown Sonora, which still had residents and visitors on the streets and sidewalks. The suspect exited his vehicle and began shooting at Officer Webb. Fearing for his safety as well as the public’s safety, Officer Webb returned fire. Officer Webb was hit by gunfire near his duty belt and lower torso.
The suspect returned to his vehicle and fled the scene. Despite being injured, Officer Webb pursued the suspect as no additional officers had arrived. Officer Webb feared the suspect would resume firing his weapon or engage in other lethal conduct, putting innocent bystanders at serious risk of injury or death. The pursuit ended at the same downtown location of the earlier gun battle. By now, additional law enforcement personnel and vehicles were involved. The suspect exited his vehicle with a gun in his hand. After repeated commands by Officer Webb and others to surrender, the suspect raised the gun and began firing at Office Webb and other law enforcement personnel who returned fire, ending the violent confrontation.
Governor Brown and Attorney General Harris with Sonora Police Department Officer Ryan D. Webb
Of the numerous rounds fired by Officer Webb, none struck any of the bystanders. Officer Webb’s initial observation of the suspect’s vehicle prevented the suspect from seriously or fatally injuring his intended victims.
For extraordinary bravery, heroism and courage in the face of imminent and personal life threatening peril, his actions were above and beyond the call of duty, and exemplify the highest standards of a California public safety officer. Officer Ryan D. Webb of the Sonora Police Department is most deserving of the Governor’s Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor.
San Bernardino Police Department Officer Marcus Pesquera
On August 22, 2014, Field Training Officer Gabriel Garcia and his trainee, Officer Marcus Pesquera, were on patrol together in the 1900 block of N. Garner Avenue in the city of San Bernardino. At the time, Field Training Officer Garcia was a six-year veteran of the department. His trainee, Officer Pesquera, was a recent academy graduate and had been in training for one and a half months.
There was a group of subjects standing around a vehicle, which had its hood up and doors open. Due to recent stolen vehicles and other serious crimes in the area, the officers exited their vehicle and approached the subjects on foot. The subjects were standing apart so the officers moved away from each other by several feet. Officer Pesquera heard Training Officer Garcia say words to the effect of “come over here” and “let me see your hands” and immediately heard a gunshot. Unbeknownst to Officer Pesquera, Training Officer Garcia had been gravely wounded by suspect gunfire.
Governor Brown and Attorney General Harris with San Bernardino Police Department Officer Marcus Pesquera
Despite his limited patrol experience, Officer Pesquera reverted to his academy training by remaining calm while he engaged the suspect. Officer Pesquera communicated to the dispatch center, via his radio, that his partner was down and he was engaged in a gunfight. He reloaded his service weapon several times and continued to engage the suspect until he neutralized the threat to both himself and his fallen Training Officer.
Due to Officer Pesquera’s courage under fire, he quickly ended the suspect’s deadly assault, while simultaneously calling the situation in to the communications center. Officer Pesquera’s heroic actions allowed officers and medical personnel to safely and swiftly reach Training Officer Garcia and begin life-saving measures. Training Officer Garcia was rushed to a local hospital where he received emergency medical treatment for serious head and chest injuries. Training Officer Garcia is continuing to recover from his injuries.
For extraordinary bravery, heroism and courage in the face of imminent and personal life threatening peril, his actions were above and beyond the call of duty, and exemplify the highest standards of a California public safety officer. Officer Marcus Pesquera, of the San Bernardino Police Department, is most deserving of the Governor’s Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor.
Photo Credit: Dionne Grubbs, California Department of Justice.