Beaufort officers to receive medal of valor for saving life - WRBL

Beaufort police officers to receive medal of valor for saving life

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BEAUFORT, N.C. -

A Carteret County town is honoring two of its police officers for saving a woman's life last year on Halloween.

They'll receive a medal of valor in a ceremony at the Beaufort commissioners meeting Monday at 6 PM.

Susan Salazar will never forget October 31, the day her brother tried to kill her. It also the day police officers saved her life.

"Art was standing over me reloading that shotgun and he was going to kill me," said Salazar.

Salazar says her brother, Arthur Page, had beaten her so many times, she couldn't think straight. She was on the verge of giving up.

"I just said God, are those policemen going to get here? And boom, they came in the door," said Salazar.

Beaufort police officers Eric Sassano and Brian Willis ordered Page to drop his double barrel shotgun, but he raised it instead.

"I opened my eyes, saw that they pulled their weapons and heard the shots," said Salazar.

Those shots killed her brother, but officers say they had no choice.  Two and a half months later, the town of Beaufort is planning to honor them with a medal of valor.

"It's definitely an honor to receive it. I don't feel I did anything that any other law enforcement officer wouldn't have done if they had been in that situation," said Sassano.

"I think a lot about how it must be if you're a police officer to have to take a life. That has to be very traumatic for them," said Salazar.

"It's unfortunate. I mean, it's tragic. I mean, it's not something we wake up wanting to go to work and do each day," said Sassano.

Salazar says she loves her brother, but drug and alcohol abuse made him a violent person. He had already shot Salazar and her neighbor before officers took him down.

"Luckily we were in the right place at the right time to save someone's life," said Willis.

Salazar says she still has concussion issues and is frightened to go into her backyard at night.

"But I'm also very grateful that their training is such that they were able to take him down immediately before he was able to pull that trigger again," said Salazar.

She says she looks forward to meeting the officers' families at Monday's ceremony.

Sassano and Willis were put on administrative leave for more than two weeks following the shooting, which they say was nerve wracking.

But the State Bureau of Investigations determined their lethal force was justified.

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