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December 14, 2017 at 8:13am

Heroic cop joins Rainier Wing

Officer Daniel J. Aguirre. Courtesy photo

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The desire to serve is strong for many Reserve citizen airmen, and one heroic police officer returned to service after being recognized for his valor during an intense standoff with an armed robber.

Before he signed up to become a member of the 446th Security Forces Squadron in April, Staff Sgt. Daniel Aguirre, 446th SFS fire team leader, was serving as an officer in the Seattle Police Department where he still serves today.

During the course of his duty as a police officer earlier this year in January, Aguirre and his partner became involved in the pursuit of an armed robber that would ultimately result in their award of the highest distinction the SPD has to offer: the Medal of Honor.

Early in the afternoon, police received a report of an armed robbery in the 3300 block of Rainier Avenue South, where the suspect had reportedly brandished a handgun and taken another man's cellphone. The suspect, later identified as notorious robber "Top Notch," pistol-whipped the victim and also fired a shot.

The suspect fled the scene in a stolen Volkswagen Jetta before police could arrive. Aguirre and his partner, Officer Christina Bradley, located the car a short time later in the Central District, having already been present to address nearby community concerns.

While leading police on a brief chase through a residential neighborhood, the suspect collided with an unoccupied parked car. He then exited his own vehicle where he fired one shot at Aguirre and Bradley who quickly proceeded to pursue the suspect on foot.

Aguirre and Bradley called in for support and quickly set up a perimeter and contained the area where the suspect had been hiding. With nowhere to go, the suspect was eventually overwhelmed and apprehended by police.

For their heroic actions during the pursuit and their instrumental roles in apprehending a violent criminal, Aguirre and Bradley were both awarded with the Medal of Honor by the Seattle Police Department, a rarely awarded distinction.

"I think the award really represents the entire unit," said Aguirre, "a lot of people played important roles in this incident and my role in it was small, but I am honored on behalf of everybody who was involved."

In joining the 446th SFS a few months after the incident, Aguirre brings with him a breadth of experience that he can share with his new unit.

"Having known him prior to his joining it was no surprise at all to see the way in which he conducted himself. He really adds to the strength of our unit through his selfless sacrifice," said Maj. Ryan Bradley, 446th SFS commander and former SPD Officer.

Aguirre, who was in the United States Marine Corps for five years prior to becoming a police officer, chose to become a Reserve citizen airman as way of getting back into the military life and serving his country.

"It's the comradery that draws me," said Aguirre, "the opportunity to participate in something bigger than myself."

For Aguirre the accolades and esteem have never been part of the appeal to service.

"Our people are silent professionals," remarked Bradley, "and I want people like him in my unit. It takes a special kind of person to run towards a threat when rounds are flying around, and I know that while he's in this unit he's going to be an asset, he's going to be a leader."

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