Inglewood police officers are being honored for their bravery and exceptional work on May 28 at a luncheon at the Torrance Marriott. The annual event recognizes officers who go beyond the call of duty to risk their lives protecting South Bay residents.
Hundreds of police officers, family members and community members are expected to attend the luncheon sponsored annually for 40 years by the South Bay Chambers of Commerce.
Among the five officers awarded the region’s Medal of Valor award for 2013, three come from Inglewood: Officers Joel Marquez, Corinna Rodriguez, and Sgt. Brent Birkbeck. Officers Travis Towle, Caroline Amezcua, Cilia Islas, Ethan Siddall, Michael Jaen, Paul Devlin, Lewis Gilmour and David Villamil, and Sgt. Joe Cupo will receive Distinguished Service Awards.
All were involved in the Nov. 27 shooting in the 10700 block of Fifth Avenue. An alleged gunman, Christopher Warsaw, took his girlfriend and her teenage daughter hostage inside a home and opened fire on the officers.
Warsaw shot at Birkbeck, Marquez, Rodriguez, Towle and Jaen when they arrived at the scene. Marquez’s bullet-resistant vest saved him from the bullets that hit him in the chest. Rodriguez and Towle ran through the line of fire to help him, while others secured the area, protected residents and helped to insure the hostage’s safe release. As many as 100 shots were reportedly fired during the 10-hour standoff which ended in Warsaw giving up. No one died.
Inglewood Police Officer Jon Thompson will receive a Distinguished Service Award for talking a suicidal man down from the Florence Avenue overpass on the 405 Freeway on Dec. 1, 2013.
A total of 5 Medal of Valor Awards, 23 Distinguished Service Awards and 3 Sustained Superiority (lifetime achievement) Awards were presented to police officers and firefighters in Inglewood, Hawthorne, Gardena, El Segundo, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Torrance.