Crime & Justice

White House honors 3 officers for ending college shooting

People gather at a memorial outside of the Santa Monica City College library to remember victims of the recent shooting.
People gather at a memorial outside of the Santa Monica City College library to remember victims of the recent shooting.
Mae Ryan/KPCC

Three Santa Monica police officers have received the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor for their response to a 2013 rampage on a community college campus that left five people dead.

Officers Jason Salas and Robert Sparks and Capt. Raymond Bottenfield were honored for their actions during the mass shooting at Santa Monica College.

In June 2013 the three officers confronted the 23-year-old gunman John Zawahri in the campus library and shot and killed him when he pointed his assault weapon at them. 

They were among 13 law enforcement officers President Barack Obama bestowed the medal on Monday in a ceremony in the East Room of the White House.

Obama said police officers receiving the Medal of Valor demonstrate how loving one's country means loving one another. He said every one of the recipients acted without regard for his or her personal safety.

The president said none of the officers sought out the situations that led to the medal, but that because of their courage, the rest of society can go about living their lives freely.

Obama said the nation has a responsibility to support and listen to those who serve. He said he'll keep pushing for bipartisan legislation to make the criminal justice system smarter and fairer.

The recipients also include a Los Angeles officer who saved an unconscious man from a burning car. Below is a list of the other officers recognized:

This story has been updated.