MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A Miami-Dade police officer received a Purple Heart Thursday, six months after he killed a gunman who seriously injured him outside a Walmart.
Officer Manuel Gonzalez was working an off-duty assignment in December at the Walmart when he encountered a man shoplifting a TV in the parking lot.
What the veteran Northside District officer didn't know was that David Facen, 54, had a warrant out for his arrest on an attempted murder charge.
Authorities said Facen pulled out a .357 Magnum from a custom concealed holster and opened fire on Gonzalez at extremely close range, hitting him seven times.
Gonzalez has amazingly recovered from his injuries. He's been recognized not only for finding the will to survive, but for returning fire, killing Facen.
"He shot me actually once or twice -- once over here, initially, and at that point I was already pulling out my gun, so we simultaneously shot each other," Gonzalez said.
The officer said the two were 3 feet apart when they shot at each other.
"And then, as I am backing up -- because he falls -- as I am backing up, he is still shooting at me while I am shooting at him," Gonzalez said. "And then I fall 3 to 4 feet away from him, and that’s when we finish the gun battle there."
"After the whole gun battle itself I was saying to myself, 'I am not going to die here,'" Gonzalez added.