Boulder County, COLO. - Boulder County Sheriff's deputy Jeff Brunkow isn't one for attention. A 20-year veteran, his passion for law enforcement started when he was just a kid.
"At that time my favorite TV show as an 8-year-old was CHiPs, and honestly, that's what got me into this," Brunkow said.
Little did he know, he would become the hero in a scene much bigger than some Hollywood script.
"I just did what I had to do," Brunkow said.
On April 22, 2015, Boulder County Sheriff's deputies responded to a hostage situation near Eldorado Springs at the Doudy Draw Trailhead parking lot. A man had taken two of his in-laws hostage and was holding them at gunpoint inside a car and was threatening to kill them. The car's door was open just four inches.
"The person in the back started to point the gun toward the person in the front seat," Brunkow said.
Brunkow, who was 120-feet away, saw an opportunity.
"One shot," Brunkow said.
He took it.
"A second after it happened and I saw the two people come out and they weren't hurt, I was 100-percent fine with what I did," Brunkow said.
"That shot had saved their lives. The suspect had just told his brother-in-law to open his eyes and look to the mountains because 'it's the last thing you're ever gonna see,'" Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle described.
On Tuesday, Brunkow joined 275 other officers nationwide to receive the Officer of the Month Award from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. Since 1996, the Memorial Fund has honored a deserving officer each month at the local, state or federal level who has gone above and beyond the call of duty.
"They're looking at cases from across the country and they chose Jeff to honor this way. So we're very proud of him," said Pelle.
In May of 2017, Brunkow will head to Washington, D.C., where he will be honored during National Police Week.
"Hero" is still a word the deputy is getting used to. For now, humble seems a better fit.
"For the last 20 years it's been a job. I go out and do my job and I go home at the end of the night, never expecting to go through what I went through," Brunkow said.