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22 Deputies Awarded Medals for Heroism

Sheriff Sherman Block presented Medals of Valor to 22 members of his department for acts of heroism performed in the line of duty.

The medals--the highest honor bestowed by the Sheriff’s Department--were awarded Friday during a yearly ceremony at the Omni Los Angeles Hotel that was attended by more than 300 people.

“Our community is indeed fortunate that these fine people chose a career in law enforcement,” said Block. “They exemplify the dedication and professionalism we have come to expect from members of the Sheriff’s Department.”

Among those receiving the department’s highest honor were deputies Gerald Biehn and Thomas Kerfoot, who were serving a routine search warrant in La Habra in October 1996 when they encountered a murder suspect armed with an assault rifle.

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The deputies knew the suspect’s father, girlfriend and her child were at the house, but did not know the suspect was there.

Accompanied by a local police officer, they were granted entry and were searching the house when they heard the sound of a gun being loaded behind a closed door.

As the deputies evacuated the other residents, the murder suspect climbed out a window. When Biehn and Kerfoot chased him across the backyard, he shot at them with an AK-47 rifle. The deputies returned the fire, killing him.


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