Niagara County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Joseph Tortorella was one of 13 law enforcement officers receiving the Presidential Medal of Valor at the White House last week. The medal is conferred upon officers who have exhibited exceptional courage, regardless of personal safety, in an attempt to protect human life.
Deputy Tortorella was honored for his actions on April 17, 2015, when he confronted and subdued a violent gunman who had shot and wounded his own parents inside their home in Wheatfield, NY, and by doing so prevented the gunman from threatening the safety of students in a nearby elementary school (where Deputy Tortorella’s wife was a teacher, and where his son and daughter were students).
Deputy Tortorella took a round in the chest, which was deflected by his bulletproof vest, when he stood between the shooter, Duane A. Bores Jr., 25, and the nearby Errick Road Elementary School, while alerting the school to lock down. 15 rounds were exchanged in the gun battle between Tortorella and Bores, before Bores retreated into his home and killed himself.
According to Niagara County Sheriff James Voutour, who was also on hand for the ceremony, the President met with each of the recipients and their families prior to the ceremony.
Deputy Tortorella has also received several local and state awards, including being named New York State Deputy Sheriff of the Year at the NYSSA Winter Training Conference in January. Congratulations Deputy Tortorella; an honor well deserved! Please click here for a video of the Medal of Valor Ceremony.