A big congratulations goes out to three police officers with the Syracuse Police Department who received a statewide honor Monday morning because of their courage in an officer-involved shooting.

Lieutenant James Milana and officers Victoria Losurdo and Travis Rheinheimer were pursuing suspect Leon Thomas in February 2018 for carrying an illegal weapon, when he started shooting at them, according to Syracuse.com. Instead of worrying about their own safety, the officers continued their pursuit and were able to arrest Thomas, who was later apprehended and sentenced to 23 years to life in prison for attempted murder, according to the Syracuse Police Department.

Not only did Thomas shoot at the hood of Milana's police cruiser and at Rheinheimer, but he also fired shots wildly behind him while he ran away. All three officers fired back, injuring Thomas. The suspect's lawyer, Nicholas DeMartino, said everyone was lucky none of the shots made contact with the officers.

"I don't know how or why those bullets missed those officers," DeMartino told Syracuse.com, adding that Thomas was lucky to avoid a homicide charge.

The Syracuse Police Department nominated Milana, Losurdo and Rheinheimer for the New York state award. This is the second time in three years officers from Syracuse have won the award, according to Syracuse.com.

We think it's safe to say there's some pretty good police officers in Central New York," Syracuse Police Chief Kenton Buckner said, according to Syracuse.com.

We sure do. Thank you to Lieutenant Milana, Officer Losurdo and Officer Rheinheimer. You are our hometown heroes and congratulations on the award!

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