ST. LOUIS (AP) - Six federal marshals were honored Monday for bravery for their actions during a 2011 St. Louis gunfight that killed one of their own, along with a drug suspect they were looking to arrest.
Three Democratic lawmakers - U.S. Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Dick Durbin of Illinois, and U.S. Rep. Bill Enyart of Illinois - presented the Congressional Badge of Bravery during a ceremony at the federal courthouse in St. Louis.
The badge was established in 2008 to honor bravery in law enforcement, and first awarded in 2010. Medals are awarded annually by the U.S. attorney general. Enyart noted that the honor is rare - only about two dozen of the medals have been bestowed, he said, and the honorees were the first from Missouri and Illinois.
U.S. marshals and St. Louis police went to the home of Carlos Boles in March 2011 to try and arrest the fugitive on drug and assault charges. A gunfight ensued. Boles died, along with John Perry, 48, of Edwardsville, Ill., who had been with the U.S. Marshals Service for nearly 10 years. Another marshal, Theodor Abegg, and a city police officer, were injured but recovered.
"On that day two years ago, these brave officers knew they were looking for a dangerous man with a history that included assaults on law enforcement, but they went after him anyway because that was their job," Durbin said.
In addition to Perry and Abegg, honorees included fellow marshals Patrick James, Travis Franke, Nicholas Garrett and Jeremy Wyatt.
"These brave men and women are doing an incredible job, often under difficult circumstances, and deserve the recognition they're receiving today," McCaskill, a former Jackson County, prosecutor, said.