Chicago police officers and firefighters honored for heroism and bravery
BY MAUDLYNE IHEJIRIKA Sun-Times Media October 9, 2012 7:52PM
At the Annual City of Chicago Awards Ceremony for the Fire and Police Departments. L-R are : Fire Chief Jose Santiago, Firefighter/EMT Larrence J. McCormack, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel. McCormack was awarded the 2012 Carter Harrison Award. | Al Podgorski~Chicago Sun-Times
Updated: November 11, 2012 6:32AM
Chicago Police Officer Joseph Lopez was responding to a call of gunfire when he approached the SUV involved in the incident.
After a man hopped out suddenly and ran, Lopez gave chase.
The man turned, firing three times at Lopez, who raised his gun, saw citizens walking near the man and decided against firing it.
The chase continued into a gangway, where the man again turned a 9 mm semi-automatic toward Lopez, who fatally shot him.
The eight-year veteran was among 19 officers and 12 firefighters honored for similar acts of heroism and bravery Tuesday — two officers, Paul Nauden and Clifton Lewis, posthumously.
Lopez was awarded the department’s Lambert Tree Award, the highest it gives, while the Fire Department’s highest, the Carter Harrison Award, went to six-year veteran Larrence McCormack, of the city’s Mount Greenwood community.
“This is a solemn moment for the city...Today’s recipients have gone above and beyond the call of duty to protect Chicago’s neighborhoods and communities,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who with Police Supt. Garry McCarthy and Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago presented the awards in the Chicago City Council chambers.
When firefighters responded to a fire in Englewood last year, one of McCormack’s crew became lost in a fire so bad an order was given to evacuate. But McCormack did not. He went back in.
Finding the injured firefighter, he single-handedly dragged him out to other waiting firefighters. But the day didn’t end there.
Returning to the firehouse, another call came. Responding, McCormack’s crew found the hydrant didn’t work, and McCormack and others went into the smoke with for a search.
McCormack found a disabled man unable to walk, trapped in his bed in the basement. Again he single-handedly dragged the man out.
“This is all more than I deserve,” McCormack said. “I was just another spoke in the wheel. Both were possible only because each firefighter was in the right spot at the right time.”