Det. Marquez and Officer Cotter

Det. Marquez and Officer Cotter (KTLA-TV / May 3, 2012)

LOS ANGELES (KTLA) -- The White House rolled out the red carpet Saturday for top cops across the nation -- including two heroes from the LAPD.

Los Angeles Police Department Officer Kevin Carter and Detective Craig Marquez were the first to respond to an out-of-control gunman at the intersection of Sunset and Vine last December.

The pair were honored by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden at the 2012 National Association of Police Organization TOP COP Saturday for their heroism -- both were off-duty at the time of the shooting.

More than 30 other law enforcement officers from around the nation will also be honored at the White House ceremony.

On Friday, the LAPD honored Cotter and Marquez with its Medal of Valor, the department's highest honor.

Last week, Marquez and Cotter sat down exclusively with KTLA's Chris Schauble to recount the harrowing event.

It was December 9, and a shooting rampage was about to change one of Hollywood's busiest intersections: Sunset Boulevard and Vine Street.

Marquez stopped by a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in Hollywood to get a cup of coffee. Cotter was planning to check out a nearby traffic accident.

That's when they heard shots fired and ran to the scene.

Video taken from nearby buildings showed Tyler Brehm, a 26-year-old grieving form a recent break-up, walking into the street and pointing a handgun at passing cars.

Brehm shot nearly 20 rounds from a .40 caliber Smith & Wesson and reloaded the weapon at least once during the spree, according to the police.

Music executive John Atterberry later died after Brehm randomly shot him in the jaw and torso.

Marquez and Cotter arrived on the scene and opened fire on the suspect, killing him before he could continue to terrorize the community.

"I thought I was on my own until I saw Craig, then I had a standing chance," Cotter recalled.

"I don't know if i was afraid because I was processing it, and it was unfolding by the second," he added.

"You have tunnel vision and everything slows down. It's something I'll take to my grave."

Marquez says saving the lives of everyday citizens is what his job is all about.

"You're not just running to save lives," Marquez said. "You're running to save your friends, the people who wait on the tables, clean up the dishes."

"We're human being. None of us are robots," Cotter said. "We're expected to make a split-second decision, a life-changing decision in a moment. How many people can do that?"

And save lives, they did. Many civilians were in harm's way on the street that day.

Cotter said that a few days after the shooting, he said he woke up remembering the shooting.

"When you face off with somebody like that, it's definitely something that you don't forget," he said.

"People's lives have been taken and families are torn up by things like this."

Today, it's not by chance that Cotter and Marquez are being hailed as heroes.

They insist that they were just doing their jobs.

"You come on this job to help people," Marquez explained. "You do what you are here to do."

Cotter echoed his sentiments, saying, "I'm an average motor cop at best."

"I didn't expect this to unravel the way it did, but it did," he said. "You have to do your job, and I did my job."