A group of LAPD officers who chased and arrested an armed murder suspect were given "Top Cop" awards from President Barack Obama at a White House ceremony Saturday.
The officers arrested Ian Schlesinger after he allegedly carjacked a vehicle and led them on a chase from North Hollywood to downtown Los Angeles on Sept. 12, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
The dramatic chase ended when Schlesinger was the only person injured in a shootout as darkness fell following a high-speed pursuit.
The honorees were: Sgt. Joel Miller, Sgt. Joseph Sanchez, and Officers Hans Almaraz, Joseph Arevalo, Mark Austin, David Blake, Joseph Broussard, Juan Garcia, Bradford Gorby, Ryan Nguyen, Clinton Perez and Sean Schneider.
At the Washington ceremony, Obama praised the nation's police officers for courage and for signing up, in his words, “to do some tough stuff.”
The event was held for the 2013 National Association of Police Organizations TOP COPS award winners. The group included officers from California, Illinois, Iowa, Florida, Indiana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Texas and Wisconsin.
In the LAPD case, according to police, Schlesinger had vowed to his friends that “he wouldn't get caught alive,” and officers were aware of this while they were chasing him.
When he got to downtown Los Angeles, Schlesinger drove through a traffic signal at Seventh and Bixel streets and his stolen car crashed into another car, police said.
Schlesinger got out of the car armed with a rifle, hid behind both damaged cars, and began shooting at the officers, who returned fire, police said.
During the shootout, officers rescued a civilian who had been pinned down by the gunfire, and one officer pulled the driver of the other car out of her damaged vehicle. Schlesinger was wounded and was taken into custody, police said.
According to a statement from the National Association of Police Organizations, "the Los Angeles police officers worked as cohesively as a well-oiled machine, trusting each other to perform their assigned tasks throughout this potentially deadly incident."
The Associated Press contributed to this article.