Sergeant Don Jerome had no idea what he was walking into when he responded to the call of a burglary in progress last November. But shortly after he entered a West Side cell phone store with his gun drawn, he found six people bound with duct tape in a back room, and the suspects were still inside.
"I encountered the subject he was trying to get out the back door of the store, hitting it with his shoulder. Then out of my peripheral vision I saw the second subject," said Sgt. Jerome.
He managed to control the suspects for a short time, but as he waited for backup to arrive one of the men, Richard Rosa, 50, who was armed with a loaded hand gun, tried to attack Jerome. As the sergeant tried to reach for his gun, they lunged through the store's plate glass window. When Jerome was finally able to handcuff the suspect, the backup officers managed to arrest the other suspect Shawn Tribbett, 41, as he ran away from the store.
Jerome's superiors nominated him for a national top cop award, one of 10 in the country. President Obama presented the awards Saturday in the Rose Garden at the White House.
"It almost seemed like it was slow motion. I knew what I was doing but it was definitely a tense situation," said Jerome.
It was an unforgettable Mother's Day weekend for Sergeant Jerome's mother, who got a hug from the president. But the veteran officer says he knows it could have very easily gone the other way. He credits his training and says most of his fellow officers would have reacted the same way.
"People don't have any idea how many courageous people I work with day in and day out. It just makes me proud to be a Chicago police officer," said Jerome.
The six victims who were bound in the back of the store included three children. They were unhurt as was Sergeant Jerome. The suspects were convicted of a series of robberies in the area as well as a number of other felony charges, including attempting to disarm an officer. After they arrested the suspects that day they found a loaded handgun.