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Niagara County deputy receives Medal of Valor

Posted at 12:23 PM, May 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-17 09:25:31-04

Niagara County Deputy Sheriff Joe Tortorella received the Presidential Medal of Valor at the White House Monday morning.

Tortorella is one of only five law enforcement members nationwide to be honored this year. He was chosen by leaders of the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney General's office.

The award comes for Tortorella's actions in April last year when he responded to a 911 call after a man had shot his parents. The deputy put himself between the house and a nearby school as the suspect began shooting.  Tortorella was shot but saved by his protective vest. He ordered the school be put into lock-down mode, the same school where his children attended and his wife was a teacher.

The Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor is the highest national award for valor presented to a public safety officer. It is awarded to officers who have demonstrated "exhibited exceptional courage, regardless of personal safety, in the attempt to save or protect human life."