Medal of Valor awarded to officers for dangerous work - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Medal of Valor awarded to officers for dangerous work

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Every day police officers go to work not knowing what the day will bring. CMPD gave over 200 awards to officers and civilians Tuesday morning.

Five officers from Independence Division were honored for responding to a call when a man threatened to blow himself up with an explosive. They were awarded the medal of valor.

The medal of valor is an award given to those who commit acts of extraordinary bravery.  But officer Marc Richter said what he did back in December was routine.

"Just kind of an everyday kind of thing," said Richter, "You kind of get used to it after awhile but I don't think of myself as a hero at all."

Richter and his fellow officers responded to a 911 call that came from 7900 block of Idlewild Road.

"He said he had some sort of IED ready for us which is why we didn't run in there at one time.  Take him down initially," said Sgt. Henry Rozell.

The caller, later identified by police as 45-year-old John Henry Jernigan, said if he didn't get police assistance he was going to burn himself up with two bombs.

"The problem was trying to get eyes on a subject with a potential IED not knowing what it is, what the blast radius is or if it as one at all," said Rozell.

Officers arrived from a distance.

"We watched him, surveilled him.  He was getting agitated because he couldn't see the police he was wondering where we were," said Rozell.

Officers said the agitated man then ran towards a Circle K gas station at the corner of Idelwild and Harris.  Police say he yelled he was going to blow the store up.  At this point, the public was at risk.

"We had to intervene no matter what information we had at that time," said Rozell, "We had to take him down."

Five officers worked together and took away the molotov cocktail in the man's hand.

"It was kind of weird because we came from all different angles," said Richter, "He couldn't do anything except for give up."

These officers might not call themselves heroes, but they did preserve life with the risk of serious injury or death.

"Everyday is different in our job. That's why we love this job," said Rozell, "You never know what the next call is going to be."

The man they took down John Henry Jernigan has been charged with possession of a weapon of mass destruction.

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