Seven San Diego citizens were honored by the District Attorney Tuesday for their bravery in the face of some scary situations at the annual Citizens of Courage awards luncheon.
As part of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, San Diego County DA Bonnie Dumanis hosted the event at the Westin Horton Plaza Hotel in downtown San Diego.
Dumanis gave courage awards to recipients like Nicholas Raheja and Oscar Lama, Army and Navy Academy cadets, respectively, who started an anti-bullying club on their campus. The pair hopes their club inspires other campuses to create similar groups.
Also honored was Will Barton, a man shot in the head during a random crime spree by Phillip Hernandez and teen Cindy Garcia. Barton’s doctors didn’t expect him to live, but he somehow survived. Today, he continues to recover with a positive attitude and is now helping others with head injuries.
Citizens of Courage also highlighted Chula Vista police officer Richard Deomampo. The officer suffers from PTSD following a massive shootout with three gunmen from the Los Palillos drug cartel during a high-speed chase. Deomampo has taken the stand twice in court to testify against the gunmen.
Law student Steven Babin was also recognized for his work rescuing an 8-year-old boy from a home where his caregivers had chained him to a bed without food.
Two younger recipients of the courage award this year included a South Bay teenager who was attacked by a stranger who was high on drugs and pushed her younger cousin to safety, and a 12-year-old boy who hid in a bathroom and called 911 while his home was being burglarized. He identified the intruder for police during a lineup.