SDPD officer honored for ‘selfless acts of courage’ in College Area shootout

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Left to right: Governor Newsom, Honoree Stephen Miller, Honoree Shawn Boggeman, Attorney General Becerra. (Credit: Dionne Grubbs, California Department of Justice)

SAN DIEGO — A San Diego Police Department officer received a Governor’s Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor from Gov. Gavin Newsom Tuesday at the state capitol for demonstrating “selfless acts of courage” last year during a College Area shootout with a body armor-clad man unleashing barrages of gunfire with an assault rifle.

Officer Shawn Boggeman and two fellow officers came under fire while responding to a reported disturbance at a condominium in the 4800 block of Rolando Court about 10:15 p.m. on June 23, 2018, according to police.

Getting no response from anyone inside the residence and noticing what smelled like smoke, the patrol personnel opened the front door and were immediately met by gunfire from inside.

Boggeman exchanged shots with the assailant while coming to the aid of his partners, SDPD Officers Dannie Bihum and Francisco Roman, both of whom were severely wounded by the rain of bullets, according to Newsom’s office.

After retreating and climbing through a small hallway window, Boggeman positioned himself on an adjacent balcony and continued to fire at the shooter, allowing the injured officers to reach him. Bihum, however, became entangled in the window frame by his duty belt while trying to clamber outside.

Fearing he and his partners would wind up pinned down on their perch by gunfire, Boggeman called for a ballistic shield from another officer, positioned himself atop Bihum and Roman, and continued firing on the gunman, allowing the wounded officers to escape.

Boggeman then remained on the balcony to provide cover to other officers before the arrival of a SWAT team.

Following a standoff, the assailant, 28-year-old Joe M. Darwish, was found shot to death inside his rental residence at the complex.

Recognized along with Boggeman during Tuesday’s ceremony in Sacramento was San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department EMT/paramedic Stephen Miller. His medal of valor recognizes his part in the dramatic nighttime rescue of a woman from San Gorgonio Mountain on Feb. 10, 2018.

The Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor Act of 2003 gives the governor authority to award medals to public safety officers who are recognized by the Attorney General for extraordinary valor above and beyond the call of duty.

The Attorney General’s Office received 36 nominations for the medal this year. The nominations were reviewed by the Medal of Valor Review Board, which makes a recommendation to the attorney general.

“The brave heroes we honor today … knew the risks but rushed into danger to save lives, and today we honor their commitment and dedication to their communities and their selfless acts of courage,” Newsom said. “Their willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty to protect their fellow Californians is an inspiration to all of us.”

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