MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis Police officer who died in the line of duty in 2016 was awarded the Medal of Valor, the nation’s highest law enforcement honor, by President Donald Trump in a ceremony Wednesday.
Officer Verdell Smith was killed in a June 4, 2016 rampage by a man who allegedly shot several people on North Main Street, stole a car from Bass Pro Shop and led police on a chase downtown.
Smith was run over as killed when the driver sped the wrong way down Third Street near Beale Street. Smith was trying to get pedestrians in an intersection out of the car’s way.
Justin Welch was indicted in the crime, but a judge ruled him incompetent for trial and ordered him into treatment.
Several officers and firefighters from around the country also received the Medal of Valor.
“To the heroes we honor today this afternoon, we express the gratitude and pride of our nation for your immortal acts of courage,” Trump said.
He later extended a thank-you to Smith’s family.