The D.C. police officer who shot and killed Aaron Alexis, a gunman who wreaked havoc on the Washington Navy Yard last September, was honored during a ceremony Wednesday.
Alexis shot and killed 12 people and injured three others Sept. 16, 2013 in southeast D.C.
"It was a high-adrenaline day," Dorian Desantis explained.
He was part of the D.C. Police Department's special operations team that responded to the Navy Yard that day, not even knowing there was a shooter in the building. Once inside, Desantis was aware of the magnitude of the incident -- another police officer, Scott Williams, had been shot.
Then, Desantis came face to face with Alexis.
"[Alexis] popped over the cubicle and shot Officer Desantis almost point-blank in the chest," D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said.
"It was a close-quarter exchange," Desantis said. He didn't even realize he had been shot -- he was wearing a bullet-proof vest and didn't see any blood. Luckily, he was not wounded and was able to return fire, killing Alexis.
"The first thing you do is check for a leakage, and I didn't see a leakage," Desantis explained.
He was honored as Officer of the Year during a ceremony Wednesday. Nine other police officers who responded that day were also honored, including Emmanuel Smith, who helped save Williams' life after he'd been shot.
"He was wounded, and basically we carried him down three flights of stairs outside, waved down a vehicle and whisked him off to the emergency room," Smith said.