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2 South Florida police officers honored at White House

Officers Mario Gutierrez, Niel Johnson receive Medal of Valor

WASHINGTON – Two South Florida police officers were among 13 honored by President Barack Obama during a ceremony Monday at the White House.

Miami-Dade police Officer Mario Gutierrez and North Miami police Officer Niel Johnson received the Medal of Valor from the commander in chief.

Local 10 News reporter Amy Viteri attended the ceremony and spoke to both officers about their actions that led them to Washington.

Gutierrez was honored after fighting off an attacker who was trying to set off an explosion at a gas station near Miami International Airport in 2013. The knife-wielding man stabbed Gutierrez several times before the officer shot and killed him, preventing an explosion that likely would have killed everyone in the area.

"I said, 'This guy is not going to beat me. He's not going to take me from my family. I am going to win,'" Gutierrez recalled.

In April 2015, Johnson stopped a suspect who opened fire on him and another officer. Johnson said the shooter, Frantzy Armand, opened fire at him with an assault rifle. Johnson lost his footing and fell down, but he was able to keep calm and shoot Armand, disabling him until other officers took him into custody.

"It's your job," Johnson said. "Like I said before, it's taking that fear and having to conquer it."

Johnson said it was an honor to be recognized by the president, but that's not the reason for doing what he and Gutierrez did.

"You want to do the best you can for the people around you," Johnson said.


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