President Donald Trump praised a police officer who intervened — likely saving dozens of lives — when, authorities say, a 19-year-old student opened fire at Dixon High School in May.
Trump recognized Dixon Police Department Officer Mark Dallas on Monday during the annual conference for the International Association of Chiefs of Police in Orlando, Fla. The organization honored Dallas with the Police Officer of the Year Award for stopping the shooting suspect, according to the association’s website.
In a video posted by Time, Trump described how Dallas, a school resource officer, responded within seconds and chased the shooting suspect. The 19-year-old allegedly opened fire in May near a gymnasium where high school seniors were practicing for their upcoming graduation. Dallas shot and wounded the suspect after he allegedly fired at the officer while trying to flee.
“Within — listen to this — 3 seconds, he was at the scene right outside the auditorium where the entire senior class was gathered and was in a lot of trouble,” Trump said.
Trump noted that among the seniors that day was Dallas’ own son who later said he wasn’t scared because he knew his father was working.
“So his son had a little confidence in him,” Trump told the crowd. “That’s not bad. That’s beautiful.”
Dallas, who told the crowd he was nervous to be in the spotlight, thanked Trump for his support of law enforcement officers.
“My son said he wasn’t scared because Dad was out there,” Dallas told the crowd. “I was Dad to 182 other kids in that gymnasium. So I just want to say thank you. I’m honored and blessed to be here.”
The shooting happened about 8 a.m. May 16 at Dixon High School. Matthew Milby Jr., 19, is accused of entering the school and shooting at physical education teacher Andrew McKay in a hallway outside the gym where the seniors were gathered. McKay warned the students and told them to flee.
Seconds later, Dallas left the athletic director’s office and began chasing Milbly, according to Illinois State Police. The teen ran toward his car and fired shots toward Dallas who returned fire, striking Milby in the right hip and right shoulder.
In a previous interview with NBC’s “Today” show, Dallas described the shooting as unfolding “extremely fast.”
“All my thought is, ‘Oh my God, he’s gonna get someone over there. I need to continue, continue,’” Dallas told the television show. “I was not going to let him get away.”
No one else was wounded during the incident.
Milby faces charges of attempted murder and aggravated discharge of a firearm. He previously pleaded not guilty to the charges. The case is pending, and Milby is scheduled to appear in court again Thursday, according to court records.
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