Officer Ed Pietrowski and Officer Michael Sarro
Euless (TX) Police Department
Washington, DC—The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund has selected Officers Ed Pietrowski and Michael Sarro, of the Euless (TX) Police Department, as the recipients of its Officer of the Month Award for August 2016.
On the afternoon of March 1, 2016, Officers Pietrowski and Sarro responded to a call of “shots fired” at a local park in Euless, Texas, a suburb of Dallas-Fort Worth. Friends since working together for the New York City (NY) Police Department, the officers made their way to the park. Officer David Hofer, whom they also knew from their days at the NYPD, decided to back them up.
What they didn’t yet know was that a gunman, who had recently been released from police custody by a judge, gathered several guns and had fired rounds for the sole purpose of drawing a response from local law enforcement. He then waited for the officers to arrive hiding in a nearby ditch.
As Officers Hofer, Pietrowski and Sarro arrived, they searched the park, looking for the source of the gunshots. Officer Hofer noticed movement in the ditch and headed toward it. The suspect then stood up from his hiding place and shot the officer, fatally wounding him. He also immediately shot at Officers Pietrowski and Sarro.
“I was trying to process everything,” Officer Sarro said. “What just happened? Was that real? I don’t hear Dave [Hofer], that’s not good, so I start returning fire.”
“[Sarro] came on the radio ‘officer down, shots fired’ and you can hear him shooting a distance from him,” Officer Pietrowski said.
Officer Sarro, who was just feet away from Officer Hofer, started shooting back as he fought for cover. Officer Pietrowski engaged with the suspect from 40 yards away to try to draw the gunman’s attention away from Officer Sarro. They were able to fire off multiple shots, striking and killing the suspect.
“The biggest relief was when I saw [Pietrowski] running in to help me,” Officer Sarro said. “If it wasn’t for him, I’d be dead too, I’m sure.”
Due to their quick actions, no one else at the park, students from nearby schools or officers, were injured during the incident.
Officer Pietrowski took a lesson from the ambush. “I know I’d take a bullet for a guy I care about. As a great example of David Hofer, this loving guy would just show up and say ‘I’d take a bullet for you’ jokingly. But with him it was never a joke.”
“After the incident, both officers indicated the only thing they could think about as the events unfolded was how to get to, and save, their friend,” Euless Police Department Assistant Chief Gary Landers said. “These officers were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, to lay down their lives for their brother and friend. It’s acts of courage like those demonstrated by Officers Sarro and Pietrowski that should be held up as an example for all to see when they discuss what it means to be a community servant and police officer.”
“Despite witnessing their colleague and friend get shot, Officers Sarro and Pietrowski were able to rely on their training and focus on their job to keep the community safe by taking down the gunman,” Memorial Fund President and CEO Craig W. Floyd said. “The bravery these men showed that day earns them our gratitude, as well as the August 2016 Officer of the Month Award.”
Located in the nation’s capital, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of America’s law enforcement officers. The Memorial Fund’s Officer of the Month Award Program began in 1996 and recognizes federal, state, and local officers who distinguish themselves through exemplary law enforcement service and devotion to duty.
Officers Ed Pietrowski and Michael Sarro, along with the other Officer of the Month Award recipients for 2016, will be honored during National Police Week at a special awards ceremony in Washington, DC, in May 2017.
The Police Unity Tour is the official sponsor of the Memorial Fund’s Officer of the Month Program.