Honoring Our Officers of the Month

Each month, the Awards Committee selects deserving Miami-Dade County law enforcement officers for the prestigious Officer of the Month designation based on meritorious performance.

This month's officers of the month: Sergeant Luis Celis, Officer Alberto Tellez, Officer Scott Demby, Officer Ralph Cuan and Officer Joseph Azrak of the Miami-Dade Police Department

Officers of the Month 8-29-18

Members of the Association:

It is with great pleasure that I announce our Officers of the Month for August 2018 representing the Doral and Miami-Dade Police Departments. Chief Hernan M. Organvidez, City of Doral Police Department, nominated Sergeant Luis Celis, Officer Alberto Tellez, Officer Scott Demby, Officer Ralph Cuan and Officer Joseph Azrak of the Miami-Dade Police Department  for their courageous actions during an active shooter incident at the Trump National Doral Resort. The following is an overview of the incident in which these brave and courageous officers deserve our salute:

 

On Friday, May 18, 2018 at 1:35 am, Doral Police Officers were dispatched to the Trump National Doral Resort located at 4400 NW 87th Avenue about an Active Shooter incident. The subject was described as an armed white male wearing all black clothing actively shooting in the resort’s main lobby area. The subject himself made several 911 calls advising of the shooting as he continued to fire his weapon indiscriminately and prepare for his continued assault on responding officers. Investigation revealed that the armed subject had slipped onto the resort grounds and moved stealthily throughout the grounds while avoiding detection. The armed subject brought down the resort’s huge American flag, which flies at the rear of the resort and made his way to the resort’s lobby where he threatened employees with a firearm. The armed subject then draped the American flag across the lobby registration desk and commenced his indiscriminate shooting.

 

Officers responding to this developing incident were instantly confronted by active gunfire and observed bullet holes and shattered glass in the resort’s main entrance area. As officers ran for cover, they returned fire while they tactically established a contact team to engage the gun-wielding subject, who matched the description provided by the police dispatcher. The subject continued shooting directly at officers to cause death or great bodily harm as they approached. During the rapidly evolving incident, the subject tried to lure officers into the resort’s lobby by raising his arms up in the air as if surrendering to police, only to then continue his active shooting toward responding units with a gun hidden out of view from arriving officers. Several police officers from various law enforcement agencies responded to the Trump National Doral Resort that morning; however, the following clearly distinguished themselves by their bravery, heroism, and outstanding courage.

 

Doral Police Department Officer Alberto Tellez, was one of the first officers to arrive at the scene and immediately compelled to exchange gunfire with the subject. During this exchange and while the subject was actively shooting toward him, Officer Tellez took evasive action and suffered a wrist injury. Officer Tellez’ injury, although unknown at the time, was a severe wrist fracture requiring surgery. Even though in extreme pain, Officer Tellez did not hesitate to retrieve his department issued rifle from his police vehicle and joined other officers as part of an entry team into the resort to locate and neutralize the subject. Doral Police Officer Scott Demby, Doral Police Officer Ralph Cuan, and Miami-Dade Police Department Officer Joseph Azrak were also among the first to arrive on the scene and immediately were compelled to exchange gunfire with the subject. The actions of these officers were immediate, and they did not hesitate to respond toward the sound of gunfire to search and locate the armed subject. These courageous officers continued their approach and they did not waver in their intrepidness. Moreover, the subject did not cease his attack and continued to fire upon them.

 

Simultaneously, Doral Police Sergeant Luis Celis tactically approached the resort and made entry into the lobby area. Sergeant Celis was immediately confronted by the armed subject as the subject attempted to move from the front lobby. Upon being confronted, Sergeant Celis fell under direct gunfire from the subject. Sergeant Celis did not hesitate to respond and in an act of exceptional valor, immediately returned fire, located the armed subject who attempted to escape down a stairway and advised the police dispatcher that the subject had been shot. Sergeant Celis single handedly apprehended the subject and instantly requested medical assistance for the subject. Sergeant Celis then secured the immediate scene to include the firearm utilized in the attack.

 

Because of a combined police effort, this violent active shooting subject was successfully neutralized and taken into custody. These officer’s actions were immediate, and they did not hesitate to respond toward the sound and direction of gunfire. These officers exhibited exceptional courage and extraordinary determination. Their actions were swift as they each placed the lives and safety of the guests and employees of the Trump National Doral Resort above their own despite the threat of active gunfire. Their outstanding work and bravery are commended as they each demonstrated exceptional valor in their service exhibiting the highest traditions of Law Enforcement and because of their rapid response, this dangerous offender was located and apprehended before his actions caused injury or death to innocent victims.

 

As always, I want to thank all the other agencies that submitted nomination letters to the Officer of the Month Committee for consideration.

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