Hamilton Co. Sheriff’s Office deputy awarded for lifesaving actions

Deputy James York responded to Fifth Third Bank Headquarters building on Sept. 6, 2018

CINCINNATI (FOX19) -

A Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office deputy was awarded Thursday for his quick actions at the Fifth Third Bank Center about a year ago.

On September 6, 2018, Omar Enrique Santa Perez opened fire inside the headquarters building killing 3 people and injuring 2 others.

The victims were identified as Pruthvi Raj Kandepi, 25, Richard Newcomer, 64, and Luis Felipe Calderón, 48.

“I started up the steps," Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office Deputy James York said. “I got to the door, grabbed the handle, took a deep breath then I just figured you know, you have to go and I just went in and I said to myself here we go. The whole time I was coming up and in, he was shooting.”

“As the city came around and started engaging him, he was running," York said. "I went though where the glass was broke and when he came running across the lobby, I couldn’t fire because on the other side of him were the Cincinnati officers.”

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York says he was armed with an M-16.

The gunman ended up being shot and killed by police.

York says he then guarded the body.

Now York is Rotary Club of Cincinnati’s 2019 Award for Valor recipient.

He received the award on the same day he celebrated 29 years with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office.

The award honors significant achievements within the department.

“I just did what they trained to me do," York said. "I didn’t think about it just came natural.”

York was presented the award for his "immediate and courageous response that helped save lives that day," Rotary officials say.

Still something, York says he can't believe happened in the Queen City.

“I never thought it would be our city," York said. "I can honestly say that. I kind of always thought, it happens here, or it happens there and then it hits you right in the face.”

York was one of several members of law enforcement within the HCSO who received an award on Thursday.

Fiscal Officer Kevin Horn received the Administrative Excellence Award.

Corporal Donald Maher received the Superior Achievement Award.

Sgt. Michelle Moore received the Career Enhancement Award.

The Rotary Club of Cincinnati initiated the Rotary Awards more than a decade ago.

Awards honor members of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, Cincinnati Fire Department, Cincinnati Police Department and teachers in Cincinnati.

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