Los Angeles police officer Kristina Ripatti was shot and paralyzed while patrolling with a gang enforcement detail last year. The Los Angeles Daily News has been following her long rehabilitation. In the fourth installment, published this week, says the incident ended “with a gun-toting crook dead and a bullet in her spine.” She had chased down James Fenton McNeal, a 52-year-old convicted murderer who’d just held up a gas station. Her life was saved when fellow office Joe Meyer shot McNeal.
The police department gave its two most prestigious awards: the Medal of Valor to Meyer and the Police Star to Ripatti. “Joe did not want to accept this award tonight. He believes he does not deserve it because I’m paralyzed,” Ripatti said, voice wavering slightly. “But Joe’s actions are nothing less than heroic. He gave me a second chance at life.”