Tales Of Heroism And Tragedy Told As 51 Cops Are Recognized For Bravery

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Heroes were honored Thursday afternoon.

Police officers who intervened in deadly crimes, saved lives and one who died while trying to save others were celebrated at the “Finest of the Finest” awards ceremony, CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported.

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Officer James Li showed CBS2 where he was shot in both legs just two months out of the Police Academy.

“There’s an exit wound and entrance wound so I have four holes in my body,” Li said.

Officer Li and his partner, Randy Chow, were chasing a bus fare beater last year when the suspect opened fire.

“I’m still not healing too well. I have permanent nerve damage, so I have a problem running. I can’t walk long distance. I have numbness, weakness in the foot,” Li said.

Though injured, Li returned fire. The suspect was eventually caught. Li is on modified desk duty. Both officers said they are happy to be alive and to be honored.

Tears fell, however, for an officer no longer with us. Police Officer Dennis Guerra was killed after running into a burning building on Coney Island. His partner, Rosa Rodriguez, also ran in and was injured.

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There was a standing ovation as she accepted an award along with Guerra’s family on Thursday.

Officers Kenneth Healey and Joseph Meeker were hit with a hatchet last October.

Healey was sliced in the back of the head and was touch and go for a while. He is still healing and working to come back full time.

Officers Andrew Dossi and Aliro Pellerano were off duty when they joined other officers in the hunt for two gunmen who had just robbed a deli. They tracked the suspects down, gunfire was exchanged and both were struck. Fellow officers who came to their aid were also honored along with the two men.

“This is indicative of what New York City police officers do each and every day,” Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said.

Other officers were honored for all kinds of brave and selfless acts, like saving the life of a man on the street who had collapsed and stopped breathing, and for helping the homeless, Gainer reported.

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In all, 51 officers were honored by their peers.