Two Trenton Police detectives who were shot in the line of duty were among the 53 “top cops” who were honored by President Obama on Monday during a ceremony at the White House.
In a ceremony in the East Room, Obama praised the recipients of the 2014 National Association of Police Organizations TOP COPS. Obama said when the moment came, the officers didn't hesitate to take action, but instead ran toward danger.
"The 53 officers, detectives, patrolmen, special agents, and troopers that we celebrate today are America's finest, the best of the best," Obama said.
Among the winners this year are Trenton Police Detectives James E. Letts and Edgar Rios. Both officers were shot in the line of duty last August after they responded to a domestic violence incident.
On August 14, Yama Blue filed a police report at the Trenton Police station, claiming her ex-boyfriend, identified as 23-year-old Eric McNeil, had beaten her the day before. Blue claimed she had been in an on and off again relationship with McNeil since his release from prison but that it had become increasingly volatile, escalating into a violent incident.
“He beat me up in my house, broke all my TV’s…you know everything. He destroyed my house period. He had this planned out already,” said Blue.
After she filed the report, Letts, 46, and Rios, 54, returned Blue to her home on Hobart Avenue in Trenton. When they arrived, McNeil allegedly came out of the house and opened fire, striking Rios and Letts. The officers returned fire, striking and killing McNeil.
Rios was struck once in the abdomen while Letts was struck twice during the shootout. Letts was released the next day but Rios spent several weeks in the hospital after being placed in a medically induced coma.
After months of physical therapy, he returned to work in March, according to The Times of Trenton.
Vice President Joe Biden, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and other top officials joined Obama for the ceremony on Monday. Biden said the families of the officers also make sacrifices for the nations' security, but they often go without recognition.