Crime Stoppers banquet honors 6 officers/deputies from ambush shooting

Crime Stoppers banquet honors 6 officers/deputies from ambush shooting

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Law enforcement from all around the Baton Rouge area packed the 2nd Annual Crime Stoppers Banquet on Friday.

"I think it's very important that we show the importance of what it means for the law enforcement officials in our community to feel appreciated," said Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome.

Not only did the banquet appreciate the men and women in blue, but it also honored the six heroes who risked everything on that fateful day of July 17, 2016 with an award that was named in 2015 in honor of fallen US Marshal Josie Wells.

On a mobile device? Click here for a photo gallery of the event and previous stories about the ambush shooting

Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie presented the awards to his three officers from that day.

"It means so much to me; I'm so proud of Matt (Cpl. Matthew Gerald)," said Becky Staub, the aunt of Gerald's wife. "Matt is just such a wonderful guy. We love you so much. He would be so honored to know this is all for him."

"In my husband's Facebook post, he said that he wondered if the city loved him and I know he's in heaven and he's seeing that everybody loves him," said Trenisha Jackson, wife of Cpl. Montrell Jackson.

"It's still emotional, but I wouldn't have it any other way," said Cpl. Chad Montgomery, who was grazed in the head by a bullet that day and went back to work immediately. "It's what I've been doing all my life and that's what I'm going to continue to do."

Sheriff Sid Gautreaux presented awards to his three deputies starting with Deputy Brad Garafola, who died in the shooting.

"It's just another piece of him," said Tonja Garafola, Deputy Garafola's wife. "It's another piece of him to take with me for me and the kids to have at home."

"It's definitely an honor to stand here and receive this award," said Deputy Bruce Simmons, who took a bullet in the arm. "What would make it even better would be if Nick were standing here with us."

"It was hard but it was amazing," said Danielle McNicoll, Deputy Nick Tullier's fiancée. "Next year, I want Nick to be able to walk up there and I think he will. He will probably think he doesn't deserve it, but he does and everybody agrees that he does."

Because Tullier is in Houston, he was a part of the banquet via Skype and just seeing him alongside his parents was enough to wet many eyes, including those of Sheriff Sid Gautreaux.

"There's not a day that goes by that people in this community don't ask me about you," Gautreaux said. "You are a warrior and son, you need to keep fighting. God has plans for you and we want you back."

"Nick is a strong one and he's fighting every way," said James Tullier, the deputy's father. "Everything is working as God's plan."

And it is working as God's plan because both deputies Simmons and Tullier are making progress.

"My radial nerve started firing about 60 days ago, so I'm actually getting movement in it and I can grip things now. I can bend it all the way down," Simmons explained.

And Tullier's fiancée added his memory is fully intact.

"We have actually found out that he remembers everything from that day. He remembers having coffee with Bruce. He remembers being shot. He remembers the ambulance ride," McNicoll said.

The banquet also honored the Baton Rouge Police Department's SWAT team members for their heroic actions on July 17.

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