Rockford Officer Awarded Medal of Valor for Fatal Officer-Involved Shooting

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Sixteen different Rockford Officers and first responders receive recognition for their conduct during an officer-involved shooting back in May.

Police Chief Chet Epperson handing out the accolades at a ceremony Wednesday.

A Medal of Valor was awarded to Officer David Cerasa, who fired the fatal shot. A Distinguished Service Medal was awarded to Officer Erdal Kaya, Officer Carl Bergstrom and Officer Harley Wessner. A Special Commendation was awarded to Sergeant Duane Johnson, Officers Mathew Shelton, Nolan Walker, Joshua Carpenter, Jonathan Hedges, Christopher Boeke, Brandon Mather, Joshua Arthur, Matthew Warren, Shawn Toepfer, Jeremiah Cizerle and Telecommunicator Stephanie Buzzo.

An investigation last month cleared Officer Cerasa of any wrongdoing and found that he and the other officers and first responders awarded today likely saved lives with their actions.

On May 15th, Officer Cerasa fired shots and killed Mark Farrar. During the incident Farrar was on his front porch in the 1800 block of 16th Avenue, allegedly suicidal, and fired several shots towards police before he was killed.

Investigators consider the incident suicide-by-cop.

Chief Epperson said today in a Facebook post, “All officers involved in this incident responded to the scene without hesitation. Their exposure to gunfire was imminent but they still ran toward the danger. Through teamwork and prioritizing the safety of our community, officers were able to end a highly dangerous and volatile crisis without further loss of life.”

He also called each of the awarded officers and first responders a credit to themselves, the Rockford Police Department and the City of Rockford.

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