The National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA) honored the actions of the Pittsburgh SWAT unit that responded to an April ambush that resulted in the deaths of three officers at the hands of a heavily armed 22-year-old gunman, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
The association handed out the award today at its annual conference and trade show in Tulsa, Okla.
Pittsburgh officers Teddy Anderson, Stephen Mescan and Ronald Yosi attended the event. Cmdr. Scott Schubert, who oversees the unit, couldn't make the trip.
"It's very bittersweet," he said of the valor award. "We're honored that they're being recognized for what they do. But we wish the whole incident had never happened."
According to police accounts of the ambush, Pittsburgh officers arriving at the home of Richard Poplawski to respond to a domestic dispute were met with high-powered rifle fire. Officers Paul Sciullo, Stephen Mayhle and Eric Kelly were killed. A fourth officer was injured.
Using the "Bear" armored vehicle, the SWAT unit engaged Poplawski, who fired on the officers for 40 minutes, before a sharpshooter disabled one of his weapons, according to the story.
Poplawski called 911 to surrender, but continued to fire on the officers. eventually he surrendered.