Denver Police officers honored for acts of heroism, valor and distinguished service

DENVER - Denver Police Chief Robert White honored several officers Thursday for acts of heroism, valor and distinguished service.        

Several officers received the Medal of Honor for their heroism during a hostage standoff at a Denver Radio Shack last year where a number of people were held at gunpoint.

The officers advanced on the building despite being fired on, police said. By risking their own safety, the officers were able to get the hostages released unharmed and the two suspects surrendered.

The Medal of Valor was awarded to Sgt. Sean Faris for stopping a robbery at a bank. He was working off-duty in uniform at a bank when an armed robber approached a teller and demanded money.

The teller signaled that he had been robbed. So, Faris followed the suspect, waiting to confront him until the gunman was outside, helping to ensure no harm would come to the people in the bank.

Officer Steven Castro received the Purple Heart for injuries he sustained while being shot at during a traffic stop in 2012. Castro and Officer Ernest Sandoval had stopped a vehicle when a male suspect opened fire on them.

Castro dove for safety, permanently injuring himself, police said.

Although seriously injured, Castro, along with Sandoval, kept pursuing the suspect vehicle and called for additional support. Despite their efforts, the suspect escaped.

The next night, the suspect was involved in a shooting with the Westminster Police Department. The man was eventually captured and convicted in both the Denver and Westminster shootings.

Detective Tammy Hurtado received the Distinguished Service Cross for helping uncover an animal cruelty case, then giving the mistreated dogs some much needed tender, loving care.

Hurtado helped photograph, bathe and care for the 22 dogs that were seized from a hoarding situation an apartment in September 2013 and taken to the Denver Animal Shelter. The animals were so matted that their fur had to be shaved.

So Hurtado bought coats for every single one of the mini-poodle mixes to keep them warm.

"All animals do is give a person unconditional love, and if they can't speak for  themselves, then I want to speak for them," Hurtado told 7NEWS last fall.

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