Aurora Police Officer Pedro "Pete" Rodriguez in 2002. | File Photo
Updated: September 23, 2012 6:16AM
AURORA — An Aurora police officer will be honored with the Illinois Law Enforcement Medal of Honor for his effort to stop a teenager from shooting at a group of teens in an incident last year on Aurora’s near East Side.
Officer Pedro “Pete” Rodriguez is one of 69 officers statewide who will be honored with the Medal of Honor, presented to “law enforcement officers who have been killed or seriously injured in the line of duty or who have displayed exceptional bravery or heroism while performing their duties,” according to the award guidelines.
Rodriguez received the Aurora Police Department’s Medal of Valor in February and was named the Exchange Club’s Police Officer of the Year in May for his actions, which he has said he wishes he never would have been forced to take.
On Jan. 7, 2011, Rodriguez had just finished his shift and picked up his 13-year-old daughter from school. At about 3:30 p.m., as he was driving his personal vehicle on Fifth Street at South Avenue, he saw a 15-year-old shooting a revolver at a group of other teenagers.
Rodriguez, who was wearing his police uniform, stopped his car, told his daughter to “get down” and confronted the gunman. Rodriguez ordered the teen to drop the gun, but instead the teen pointed the gun at him. Rodriguez fired, wounding the teen, who died a short time after arrival at an Aurora hospital.
A 13-year veteran of the Aurora force, Rodriguez was nominated for the statewide award by Police Chief Greg Thomas. Rodriguez and Thomas will attend the Aug. 27 ceremony at the Abraham Lincoln Hotel and Convention Center in Springfield.
The Illinois Law Enforcement Medal of Honor was established in 1990. Since its inception, 241 officers have received the award.