MHP Officer Awarded With Highest Honor For Heroic Lifesaving Act
MHP Officer Awarded
Montana Highway Patrol (MHP) Trooper Thomas Tafoya has been honored with the prestigious Medal of Valor for his bravery during a hostage situation involving armed robbery suspects. Presiding over the ceremony, Colonel Steve Lavin presented the award to Trooper Tafoya, highlighting the trooper's exceptional courage and selflessness.
March 18, 2023: The Call to Action
Trooper Tafoya responded to a call from dispatch about armed robbery suspects pursued by the Shoshone County Sheriff's Office in Idaho. Despite the pursuit being halted by Idaho authorities, Trooper Tafoya continued his pursuit into Montana, ultimately leading him to the town of St. Regis.
Confronting Danger at the Travel Center
At the St. Regis Travel Center, Trooper Tafoya, accompanied by three Mineral County deputies and two Sanders County deputies, encountered the armed suspects. Amidst the confrontation, the suspect fired shots, prompting Trooper Tafoya to take cover. In a daring move, he navigated an alley, aiding civilians fleeing the scene. The situation escalated when the suspect emerged from the travel center, holding a hostage at gunpoint. Without hesitation, Trooper Tafoya moved toward the danger. Tragically, the suspect shot the hostage, prompting a swift and coordinated response from Trooper Tafoya and several deputies, resulting in the elimination of the imminent threat.
Commendations for Unyielding Bravery
Colonel Lavin commended Trooper Tafoya, stating,
There is no doubt that Trooper Tafoya saved many lives on this day. He risked his own life to save others.
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Gallery Credit: Ryan Valenzuela