Hamilton officer hurt in gun battle with suspect to receive Meda - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Hamilton officer hurt in gun battle with suspect to receive Medal of Valor

Hamilton Police Officer Chad Stafford Hamilton Police Officer Chad Stafford
Left: Sheriff Vernon Stanforth. Center: Officer Stafford. Right: Mike DeWine. (PHOTO: Ohio Attorney General's Office) Left: Sheriff Vernon Stanforth. Center: Officer Stafford. Right: Mike DeWine. (PHOTO: Ohio Attorney General's Office)
HAMILTON, OH (FOX19) - A Hamilton police officer shot in the head during a gun battle with a suspect armed with more than 200 rounds of ammunition will be awarded the state's top law enforcement award Wednesday.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine will give Chad Stafford the 2014 Ohio Law Enforcement Medal of Valor during a luncheon at DeWine's annual law enforcement conference in Columbus.

Stafford arrived within 90 seconds of a report of a man armed with a rifle shooting up a neighborhood at 11th Street and Sipple Avenue in the early morning hours of Feb. 15.

As soon as the 15-year veteran officer got out of his cruiser, he encountered the gunman, Brandon Keeler, 18. 

He ordered Keeler to drop the weapon, but the teen - who police say was depressed and fascinated with the violent video game "Grand Theft Auto" - fired several rounds.

Stafford ducked behind a parked vehicle. One of the bullets grazed the top of his head, stopping just a millimeter from puncturing his brain.

He returned fire, killing Keeler. Stafford was flown to a hospital, treated and released. The father of two returned to work shortly after.

DeWine said Stafford's bravery stood out from other nominees selected from all over the state.

"Placing himself in the line of fire from a gunman firing a high powered rifle in a residential area, (Officer) Stafford displayed the courage, bravery and dedication our law enforcement officers perform every day and it is my honor to acknowledge his actions.”

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