Ardmore Police Officers Honored at the Oklahoma State Capitol - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Ardmore Police Officers Honored at the Oklahoma State Capitol

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ARDMORE, OK-- It's been one month since an Oklahoma man went on a deadly shooting rampage in Johnston and Carter County.  That suspect fired more than 10 times at two Ardmore police officers.  Those officers fired back, ending the shootout. They're now being called heroes and were invited by Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and lawmakers to be honored in Oklahoma City on the senate floor. 

"This suspect was on the loose and the fear was that he was going to continue his crime spree until he was stopped," said Senator Frank Simpson as he spoke to his fellow lawmakers on the Senate Floor. "These two officers, who were off duty, came in, had a general idea of where the suspect may have been located and they took action and stopped what could have been a very terrible situation."

The ceremony isn't common. In fact, the governor signed the citation inviting the officers to the Capitol. "It was a big deal and the governor was honored to put her signature on this citation," said Senator Simpson. "I was actually humbled to recognize them for their service on the floor of the senate. Absolutely humbled, because we were in the presence of heroes. That's a humbling situation."

It was also nerve-racking for the officers. Hundreds of people were there for the ceremony.  

"These two men have stood out above all of the rest and they put their lives on the line for so many others. This is a way to really just honor them and say thank you for the job that they've done," said State Representative Pat Ownbey.

Both officers said it was an emotional day.

"It was emotional," said Capt. Eric Hamblin. "I'd say my heart was racing. I was probably more nervous standing up there than I was the night the incident happened. I was nervous."

Officer Juan Galicia added, "Yeah, it was. You know, looking out and seeing all these people and being able to look ahead and see my family and my wife, and my child. Yeah, it was emotional and I was just glad they could be here to support me."

"I couldn't be more proud of these guys and the whole department in the short time I've been there," said Chief Ken Grace. "I'm very proud to be the Ardmore Police Chief."

The officers said it was an honor to be recognized and that the ceremony was something they'll never forget.    

"I'm very proud of all of our department," said Capt. Hamblin. "I know sometimes we get a bad rep and we've been through some things over the last few years, but we've got a lot of really good police officers there. We're a really good department. So yeah, it was a huge sense of pride for me."

When asked about how they felt about being called heroes Officer Galicia said, "You know ultimately we were just doing our jobs that night and I wouldn't change anything. So, while it is good to hear it's a little different."

"You know, it's not everybody that would volunteer to do the work that these men do. It's not an easy job. They see society at it's worst but, yet, are able to perform at their best and it just speaks well for them and for the leadership at Ardmore P.D.," said Senator Simpson.

Capt. Eric Hamblin and Juan Galicia will be honored again Friday, February 21st, at a banquet for officers across the state of Oklahoma.