In November 2009, the police service combat cross was given to someone who was not a police officer for the first time. The Florida fire Captain would go on to receive the Medal of Valor for his bravery.
Saving An Officer’s Life
During a shift change at Palm Beach County Fire Rescue Station 31 on April 8, firefighters and medics saw Palm Springs police officer Doug Rua get struck in the head and knocked unconscious by robbery suspect Mauricio Cruz.
Cruz was beating Rua with a ceramic pot and reaching for the officer’s gun. Paramedic Blum Desravins and a few others took off toward the officer.
However, Fire Rescue Captain Edwin O’Berry went to his car. In his vehicle was his personal Glock .40. Cruz was able to get Rua’s gun in the meantime.
O’Berry climbed over a 6-foot fence to help his fellow firefighters and Officer Rua. One of the firefighters was able to get Rua to safety while O’Berry provided cover.
Stopping The Suspect
O’Berry went after Cruz while the paramedics took care of Rua’s broken arm and fractured skull. Cruz ran into a small alleyway behind an apartment building.
O’Berry followed the suspect, and when Cruz turned and pointed the gun at him, O’Berry fired his weapon. He and the responding officer Joseph DeRogatis hit Cruz with four rounds.
O’Berry tended to Cruz along with paramedics. Crews flew the suspect to a trauma center nearby. He eventually died from his injuries.
In a ceremony at the White House, Captain O’Berry was presented with the Medal of Valor by then Vice-President Joe Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder.