Corporal Hope Hohertz, a graduate of Howard Payne University and Priddy High School, was awarded the Texas Department of Public Safety Medal of Valor on Thursday as she was recognized for the courageous and exemplary manner in which she discharged her law enforcement duties during a violent and life threatening confrontation.
Hohertz received the medal for her professional reaction and unselfish devotion to duty and to a wounded fellow officer, while she herself was at great risk during an incident that occurred on Dec. 26, 2016.
Hohertz was patrolling when she overheard the Big Spring Police Department dispatch a report of a subject with a gun at a local business. Due to her proximity to the location, Hohertz positioned her unit on a side street in the event the Big Spring police needed assistance. After the suspect left the business he began traveling toward her location with a Big Spring police officer following and attempting to conduct a traffic stop. Hohertz advised dispatch of their location and assisted with the stop.
As the Big Spring officer approached the vehicle from the driver's side, Hohertz approached from the passenger's side and observed the subject with his right hand on a hand gun. After the subject removed his hand from the gun to retrieve his wallet, Hohertz walked around to the front of the vehicle in an attempt to notify the officer of the weapon and to ensure the subject was aware another officer was on the scene.
The subject was asked to exit the vehicle several times without compliance and Hohertz observed him reach toward the center console. Hohertz began shouting verbal commands to the driver as she drew her pistol. The subject ignored her commands, grabbed the hand gun and pointed it directly at Hohertz. She immediately fired her weapon, striking the windshield and right front of the vehicle as she took cover. Hohertz continued to fire after additional commands were ignored and the subject again pointed his gun toward her.
As more officers arrived, the subject fled the scene in his vehicle. A pursuit ensued and the officers lost sight of the subject. Hohertz successfully located the vehicle and saw the subject get out with a gun in hand and begin firing. Hohertz grabbed her shotgun, exited to the rear of her unit and observed that two officers had arrived and were attempting to take cover behind their patrol units. It appeared one of them had been injured.
Hohertz observed the subject looking down at his gun and trying to reload. She then stepped around her vehicle and began firing her shotgun, striking the subject several times. Hohertz gave commands to other officers advising the subject was down but still moving. She continued to provide cover as the other officers approached and secured the subject.
Along with the Medal of Valor, Hohertz has also been selected as a Southern Region Finalist for the 2017 International Association of Chiefs of Police Trooper of the Year for her bravery and will be formally recognized at the annual Trooper of the Year Banquet on March 16. If selected, she will compete against other regional winners for the national award.