DPS Recognizes Heroic Actions at April PSC Meeting

April 16, 2024
PSC Awards

AUSTIN – The Texas Public Safety Commission (PSC), along with Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steven McCraw, recognized the heroic actions of several Texans at the Public Safety Commission meeting at DPS Headquarters in Austin. Commissioners and Director McCraw presented one Purple Heart, seven Lifesaving Awards and one Unit Citation to members of DPS.

“The men and women recognized here today embody the Texas Department of Public Safety motto: courtesy, service, protection,” said Director McCraw. “I am honored to recognize the courage and commitment of these awardees who have stepped up in service of their fellow Texans. Texas is safer—and brighter—because of them.”

The following DPS personnel were recognized for their accomplishments:


The DPS Purple Heart recognizes the personal sacrifice and devotion to duty displayed by DPS officers who are seriously injured while performing their duties. Their courageous actions and personal sacrifice bring great credit and distinction to themselves, DPS and the law enforcement profession. Along the way, Purple Heart awardees have faced many surgeries and long, painful rehabilitations—and some of them defied the odds by returning to active duty.

On June 12, 2022, Trooper Lyndon Johnson (Plano) sustained multiple serious injuries in a multi-event, motor vehicle crash while completing a crash investigation and arresting a subject for DWI on the President George Bush Turnpike. Trooper Johnson had placed an arrested subject in the passenger seat inside the vehicle and moved his patrol unit partially into the right lane to provide traffic control for the tow truck operator. Another vehicle—whose driver was later found to be intoxicated—then struck Trooper Johnson’s patrol unit, pushed it into the tow truck and pinned Trooper Johnson and the arrested subject inside the patrol vehicle. The driver who struck Trooper Johnson’s patrol unit exited his own vehicle and began to walk across the highway, where he was hit and killed by another vehicle. The driver of the last vehicle fled the scene but was located two days later. In recognition of his great personal sacrifice and professional performance of law enforcement duties during which he sustained serious injuries, Trooper Lyndon Johnson is awarded the Purple Heart.


On April 19, 2023, Texas Ranger Special Response Team (SRT) Staff Sergeants Matthew Davenport (SRT-1 Denton), Justyn Knowlton (SRT-1 Denton) and Tyler Lewis (SRT-1 Athens) assisted the Dallas Police Department with a warrant service involving the illegal trafficking of fentanyl, heroin and crack cocaine. As the on-scene investigation transpired, a female subject became unresponsive and appeared to be experiencing a drug overdose. Davenport, Knowlton and Lewis promptly went into action and applied the first of three doses of Narcan, which was not effective. After the second dose was administered, the subject’s condition appeared to worsen, and she remained unresponsive. After a third dose was given and a sternum rub was conducted, the subject became responsive. EMS personnel arrived and transported the subject to a local hospital, where medical personnel later advised that, without their intervention, the subject would not have survived. In recognition of their significant and professional response to a life-threatening situation resulting in the saving of a life, Staff Sergeants Matthew Davenport, Justyn Knowlton and Tyler Lewis are awarded the Lifesaving Award.


On June 12, 2023, Special Agent Henry Schultz (Corpus Christi) was assigned an investigation regarding a missing juvenile from Corpus Christi. Agent Schultz connected with the family, uncovered critical details that had been overlooked by the initial investigating agency and meticulously analyzed video surveillance from surrounding businesses near the victim’s last known location. By extracting crucial leads from the victim’s social media accounts and communication devices, Schultz was able to pinpoint the victim’s location in Florida. After Agent Schultz worked closely with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and the Alachua Sheriff’s Department (ASD) to obtain a search warrant, FDLE Investigators and ASD executed a warrant, rescued the victim and apprehended the primary suspect on July 25. The victim was found in dire physical condition, under the influence of narcotics and weighing only 75 lbs. The victim had been drugged, beaten repeatedly while being sexually assaulted, had a gun pointed at her head and a knife held to her throat. Medical personnel indicated a high probability the victim would not have survived much longer if she had not been rescued.  In recognition of his incredible work, Special Agent Henry Schultz is awarded the Lifesaving Award.


On September 23, 2023, Trooper Aaron Doyle (Weatherford) arrived at the scene of single vehicle crash where a vehicle had left the road and struck a pole. The driver was trapped in the vehicle and suffered a severe laceration to her left arm. Trooper Doyle immediately retrieved a tourniquet from his patrol unit and successfully applied it to stop the bleeding. Fire department and EMS personnel arrived shortly thereafter and were able to focus on extricating the trapped driver, who required a blood transfusion at the scene. She was then transported to a local hospital. In recognition of his quick response to a life-threatening situation resulting in the saving of a life, Trooper Aaron Doyle is awarded the Lifesaving Award.


On November 23, 2023, Criminal Investigations Division (CID) Lieutenant Daniel Martinez (El Paso) and Special Agents Benjamin Crowley (Midland) and Carlos Molina (El Paso) were conducting knock and talks at a motel in an attempt to locate human smuggling stash houses while assigned to Operation Lone Star in El Paso. Upon hearing cries coming from a nearby room, Lieutenant Martinez and Agents Crowley and Molina entered a room where they discovered an unresponsive male on the bathroom floor. Realizing the subject had overdosed on fentanyl, they began performing lifesaving measures. Over the course of 12 minutes, they administered five doses of Narcan and took turns providing CPR. Due to their lifesaving efforts, the subject’s pulse returned, and he began breathing again prior to EMS arriving on the scene. The subject was transported to a local hospital for further treatment. In recognition of their rapid response to a life-threatening situation resulting in the saving of a life, Lieutenant Daniel Martinez, and Special Agents Benjamin Crowley and Carlos Molina are awarded the Lifesaving Award.


On December 6, 2023, Sergeant Ted Riojas (Austin) arrived at the scene of a crash where the driver was experiencing significant blood loss from her left forearm. As Sergeant Riojas spoke with the subject, she became incoherent and drifted in and out of consciousness. Riojas immediately deployed his tourniquet and applied it to the subject’s arm, in addition to applying Quik Clot directly onto the wound, wrapping it with gauze and applying direct pressure. These efforts stopped the bleeding, and the subject became more coherent. As EMS and fire department personnel arrived on the scene, Sergeant Riojas provided a patient report, and the subject was transported to a local hospital where she underwent emergency surgery for a torn radial artery. In recognition of his significant response to a life-threatening situation resulting in the saving of a life, Sergeant Ted Riojas is awarded the Lifesaving Award.


On December 7, 2023, Trooper Alex Shelton (Decatur) was having breakfast with co-workers when he suddenly heard someone begin to cough loudly and saw commotion in the back corner of the restaurant. Trooper Shelton immediately proceeded toward the crowd where he found an elderly man coughing and gasping for air. Shelton pushed through the group of people and proceeded to perform the Heimlich Maneuver, successfully dislodging the blockage from the man’s airway. Trooper Shelton remained with the man until EMS personnel arrived and evaluated his condition. In recognition of his professional response to a life-threatening situation resulting in the saving of a life, Trooper Alex Shelton is awarded the Lifesaving Award.


On February 9, 2024, Special Operations Staff Sergeant Juan Lopez (SRT-3 Laredo) overheard radio traffic about a vehicle being loaded with migrants while working Operation Lone Star in Roma. As Troopers moved in to arrest the smugglers, the suspects fled in a vehicle and drove into the Rio Grande River. The tide carried the vehicle downriver and further away from the shore. The smugglers abandoned the vehicle, along with the three migrants and swam to the Mexico side of the river. Seeing the migrants still trapped in the vehicle, Sergeant Lopez immediately removed his gear, grabbed his state-issued swift water bag and swam out to the vehicle to rescue them. Sergeant Lopez rescued the migrants from the car and safely brought them back to shore on the U.S. side of the river. In recognition of his significant response to a life-threatening situation resulting in the saving of a life, Staff Sergeant Juan Lopez is awarded the Lifesaving Award.


Since its inception in 2014, the DPS Pipe and Drum Corps has played a significant role in adding solemness and respect to important occasions by performing at line-of-duty funerals, official ceremonies and other important events. Texas Highway Patrol Sergeants and Troopers who are members of the Pipe and Drum Corps balance the demands of their regular duties in addition to practicing hours, weeks, months or even years to achieve a high level of precision and musicality in their performance. Over the years, the Pipe and Drum Corps has performed at eight DPS commissioned personnel line-of-duty funerals, 14 line-of-duty funerals for other Texas law enforcement agencies and public officials, three United States Judge Investiture ceremonies, 22 recruit graduations, numerous memorial events, opening ceremonies for State and National Law Enforcement Association conferences, Dallas Cowboys football games and the Houston and Fort Worth rodeos. In 2019, the Corps received 5th place at the National Police Week Pipe and Drum competition in Washington, D.C. and took 3rd place in 2022. In recognition of their hard work and dedication, the Pipe and Drum Corps—including Commander Sergeant Terry Barnhill (New Caney); Sergeants Kenneth Morgan (Kerrville) and Tamela Snider (Crockett); Special Agent Tyler Morton (Capitol); and Troopers Harold Estep (San Antonio), Christopher Taylor (Houston), Joel Hanks (Bonham), Michael McHale (Port Lavaca), Cory Countryman (Capitol), Joseph Sherman (Corsicana), Shirley McNally (Capitol), Alena Gallardo (Capitol) and Ricka McKee (Abilene)—is awarded the Unit Citation.

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