Bravery in Shootout Earns California Lawman Votes to Become Latest AMW All-Star Finalist
March 10, 2009 A California policeman who survived a close-quarters gun battle has won the public's votes to become the third weekly finalist in the 2009 AMW All-Star Contest, sponsored by Sprint.
In April, 2008, Lieutenant Raymond Garcia of the El Segundo, California, Police Department and his partner were keeping an eye on a movie theater that had been the scene of recent trouble. When the theater's manager notified the officers that there was an unruly person in the lobby. Lt. Garcia and his partner approached the man, who was clearly upset and yelling something about a refund, and asked him to calm down. That's when the suspect pulled a gun out of his pants and open fire at the two lawmen.
The first shot hit Lt. Garcia in the face, shattering his upper jaw and knocking him to the ground. He got up just in time to see his partner get shot twice.
Despite their critical injuries, both officers chased the suspect outside, where they began exchanging gunfire from just feet apart.
Although the suspect was fatally wounded in the exchange, Lt. Garcia and his partner feared that his friends might come out to continue the battle. But they held their ground until backup arrived.
The public recognized Lt. Raymond Garcia's bravery in the face of extreme danger by giving him its votes to become the third of eight weekly finalists in the AMW All-Star Contest, which recognizes outstanding achievements by first responders. Any first responder, such as police, firefighter or EMT, is eligible for the contest, and any member of the public can nominate and vote for their favorite first responder online at AMW.com.
Each weekly finalist will be profiled on America's Most Wanted (Saturdays, 9:00-10:00
PM ET/PT on FOX). Through their online votes, the public will choose the grand-prize winner. In May, AMW Host John Walsh will present the 2009 AMW All-Star winner with a check for $10,000 at the NASCAR SPRINT Cup Series All-Star Challenge at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Nominations are open at AMW.com until April 4, 2009. Members of the public may vote for their favorite first responder once a day, every day. Finalist voting runs through April 12, and the grand-prize winner voting will run April 16-May 5.