N.M. Responders Receive Medal of Valor

They were honored for their actions during a chaotic scene on New Year's Day


Journal Staff Report | | Wednesday, March 14, 2012

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Four firefighters with Albuquerque Fire Department's Engine 2 received the Medal of Valor award Tuesday at a ceremony honoring their actions during a chaotic scene Downtown early New Year's Day, when one person was shot, another stabbed several times and a third was hit on the head with a beer bottle.

Those who received the medals are Lt. Matthew Sanchez, acting driver James Martinez, firefighter Brent Rohrig and firefighter Joseph Alderete, according to an AFD news release.

Engine 2 was sent to Third and Central at 1:54 a.m. Jan. 1 on the report of an assault after a very large crowd had gathered following the closure of drinking establishments.

The crew had left its vehicle and was walking through the intersection when shots rang out from an unknown direction, and after taking cover behind a nearby police car, the crew started to make its way to the site of the initial assault, according to the release.

The emergency personnel began giving a gunshot victim care before the scene was properly secured. When the victim was treated and sent to the hospital, another trauma victim was located near Third and Gold - an unconscious male with stab wounds - who also was treated and sent to the hospital, the release said.

In the hours and days after the incident, three bullets were suspected to have struck Engine 2 apparatus.

The emergency responders maintained the highest level of professionalism and calmness under extraordinary conditions to effectively complete their duties, according to the AFD release.

The four acted with a sense of duty and courage, despite the chaotic scene conditions and lack of critical information about the incident - entering an area where the shooting suspect was still at large, the AFD said.

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