Miami-Dade officer who received presidential medal shares story

DORAL, FLA. (WSVN) - After receiving a White House honor, a South Florida police officer spoke about risking his life to prevent a potentially explosive emergency at a gas station, near Miami International Airport.

Miami-Dade Police officer Mario Gutierrez was recognized for exceptional courage after preventing the explosive incident at a Shell gas station in October of 2013. He has the scars and now a high honor to prove it.

He was recognized last week by President Obama for showing exceptional courage and returned to Miami, Wednesday afternoon. “I said, ‘Honey, we are going to Washington,'” Gutierrez said referring to his wife, “‘but not only Washington’ — which we love going to that city — ‘but we’re gonna go into the White House.'”

Gutierrez was one of 13 heroes who received the Medal of Valor from the commander in chief.

That officer recalled how it felt when the president presented him with the medal last week. “Being at the White House and actually meeting the president, I’m like, ‘Wow.’ Never in my wildest dreams when I signed up for this job that anybody would have told me, ‘Hey, you’re gonna be doing that.’ Nah, that’s crazy,” he said. “I’m a Cuban immigrant, and to me, that’s mind boggling.”

He showed courage in the midst of chaos after he came under attack at the gas station and was stabbed several times. He tried to stop a man who attempted to ignite a massive explosion. “And I’m like, ‘What’s the big deal? I just did what anybody else would have done.’ I stopped a guy from causing an explosion, and I really didn’t think much about anything, other than, ‘Hey, let me get better, and let me get back to work.'”

Despite his injures, Gutierrez was able to shoot and kill the attacker, which was a decision that may have saved lives. “I believe any cop that I work with would have done the same thing,” he said.

North Miami Officer Neil Johnson also received recognition from the president after he helped capture a man who shot an officer and two bystanders in April of 2015.

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