HOUSTON — A Houston police officer was honored Wednesday at the White House for tackling an armed man with plenty of ammunition inside the Galleria last year.
Sergeant Kendrick Simpo was awarded the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor by President Joe Biden.
It was Simpo's fast action on February 5, 2022, that may have saved lives. He was working an extra job at the Galleria when he heard on his radio about a man armed with a rifle. He spotted the suspect within a few hundred feet of children and their families who were at a dance competition and tackled him.
"Maybe he just didn't see me due to so many kids and so many family members at the dance recital," Simpo said. "I was able to get just close enough and I just ran full speed at him, reaching for that rifle. As I reached for the rifle, in my head I just kept telling myself, 'Whatever you do, do not let go of that rifle.'"
Simpo said the rifle started pointing toward him and at that point, things started moving in slow motion.
"I pretty much thought, 'Hey I'm gonna get shot. It's gonna hurt, but I I gotta stay in this fight,'" he said.
The 14-year HPD veteran pinned the suspect against a wall while fellow security officers helped handcuff him.
Watch as Simpo tells the full story in his own words:
The suspect was later identified as Guido Herrera.
Herrera had 120 rounds of ammo, a handgun and a bible marked to a passage on mass killing, according to HPD.
Thanks to Simpo, no one was injured and no shots were fired.
"I am extremely proud of Sgt. Simpo,” HPD Chief Troy Finner said in a news release. “His courageous action exemplifies the dedication of every person in the Houston Police Department and the mission to protect and serve the whole community.”
Simpo is the first Houston police officer to receive the Medal of Valor.