Firefighters awarded highest honor for 2016 Greyhound shooting response

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – It’s been nearly one year since the deadly officer-involved shooting at a Greyhound bus station rocked the Richmond community. First responders on Wednesday were honored for their bravery.

Firefighters at Station 10 were awarded the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor for answering the call on that day. The Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor is the highest decoration for bravery shown by public safety officers in the United States, comparable to the military’s Medal of Honor.

Members of the crew told 8News that it felt incredible to be recognized, but were quick to point out that they were just doing their job. They called state trooper Chad Dermyer, who was killed in the shooting, the real hero.

Firefighter Clinton Lewis, one of the medal recipients, said he remembers the scene as if it were yesterday. “Going inside the Greyhound, seeing the fear in people’s eyes,” he said, is a picture he will never forget.

A gunman had opened fire inside the terminal, killing trooper Dermyer, hurting another trooper and injuring two passengers caught in the crossfire.

“They were terrorized,” recalled Lieutenant Michael Anderson. “Everybody was on top of each other. They were all afraid for their life.”

Within minutes of getting the 2:45pm call, the crew from Station 10 was there. Without stopping to think of their own safety, the firefighters went inside the terminal.

“There were people scattered about, unknowing if the gunman was still in the area or not,” Lt. Anderson told 8News. He and the other first responders found the victims who had been shot and helped treat them amid the chaos. “We weren’t’ really sure how many people were down at the time, just that multiple people were shot.”

The firefighters then turned to travelers crouching on the floor to make sure they were alright. “We did the same thing we do every day,” Anderson said, “Come to work and do our jobs.”

Today with the prestigious Medal of Valor, their ‘everyday’ actions are being called heroic- a word the firefighters said belongs to Dermyer.

“The real heroes were those state troopers out there- the state trooper that lost his life,” Anderson said.

Troopers gunned down the shooter, who died at a local hospital. Detectives found two 30-round magazines and 143 rounds of ammunition in his bags.

Trooper Dermyer was 37-years old when he was killed in the line of duty. He is survived by his wife and two children.

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