WASHINGTON — Arkansas Game & Fish Wildlife Officer Michael Neal will receive the Police Safety Office Medal of Valor today from Vice President Joe Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder, according to the White House.
Neal is to be recognized for heroic actions he took on May 20, 2010, during a shootout in a Wal-Mart parking lot in West Memphis.
Neal arrived at the scene to find Crittenden County Sheriff Dick Busby and Chief Deputy W. A. Wren engaged in a firefight with two men in a van who had earlier killed police officers at a traffic stop on Interstate 40.
Risking his own life, Neal rammed his truck into the van to stop the suspects. One of the suspects, armed with an AK-47, shot through Neal’s windshield but missed the wildlife officer. Neal returned fire with his AR-15.
Both suspects were pronounced dead at the scene.
Neal’s actions undoubtedly saved the lives of Busby and Wren, according to the White House. Both men were injured during the firefight. Neal was only slightly injured.
The Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor is the highest national award for valor by a public safety officer. Seventy-eight medals have been awarded nationwide since the first recipient was honored in 2003.
Neal has previously received the 2011 International Officer of the Year award and the 2010 NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award. He was awarded the Arkansas Medal of Valor by Gov. Mike Beebe in 2010.