MPD awards given to first responders at Navy Yard shooting

(WJLA) - Officer Dorian DeSantis and Officer Emmanuel Smith were both present during last September’s Navy Yard attack. Now, they are heroes, as they and their families were honored guests at the D.C. Business Community’s Police Foundation on Wednesday.

"These officers risked their lives for us, for our safety, and did a fantastic job," said Joseph Persichini, Executive Director of the D.C. Police Foundation.

The event was two hours of mixing and mingling and giving awards for service to the officers who first responded, as well as to Officer Scott Williams, who was shot in both legs. Awards were also given to the officers who whisked Williams to safety through the gunfire.

MPD Chief Cathy Lanier described in detail the conditions of that tragic day:

"Aaron Alexis literally could have hidden in that building for days, for days -- and in one hour and nine minutes, they were able to make contact with Aaron Alexis...There were eight separate gun battles inside that building."

Alexis’ last gunfight was with Special Operations Division Officer DeSantis, who shot Alexis after the gunman shot him. It was days later that he found the bullet lodged inside his vest.

"The vest absorbed the round," said DeSantis. "It was difficult to deformity in the vest -- I stand behind it obviously."

There was lots of applause, standing ovations, and food.