KANSAS CITY, Mo -- A KCPD officer received the department's highest honor Tuesday.
Chief Rick Smith delivered a Medal of Valor to Officer Jared Tipton, who's been on the job for just a year and a half.
"It's a great feeling,” Tipton said. “Really good feeling. I never thought I would be here, never thought I would be wearing this uniform and definitely never thought I would have that."
The most recent Medal of Valor awarded at Tuesday's Board of Police Commissioner’s meeting was only the 17th one given out in the last 5 years.
The prestigious award is for "performing an exceptionally valorous act far above that which is normally expected while aware of the imminent threat of personal danger."
It's the highest honor given by the Kansas City Police Department.
"You know, this is my chosen path, and I think I am pretty good at it," Tipton said.
On June 9, he was exceptional at it.
Tipton was off duty, at home when he heard a barrage of gunfire. Grabbing his badge and gun, Tipton ran toward the gunfire with no regard for his own safety.
He lives near the International House of Prayer on East Red Bridge Road and was afraid the gunfire was the result of an active shooter situation. The shooting happened the BP gas station next to the church.
Tipton found two cars shot up, witnesses telling him that one suspect ran behind the bank across the street. Tipton tracked down 36-year-old Ellery Beals, who has a long and violent criminal record. Tipton held Beals at gunpoint waiting for backup to arrive.
"I have always had that instinct. I have always been protective,” Tipton said.
At least 21 bullets were shot in the gun fight between Beals and another man, Rafael Armstrong, police said. Some of those bullets traveled through a wooded area and hit two houses.
In one of those houses, a 4-year-old boy was shot in the arm.
"I would like to say thank you to the officer,” said the boy’s grandmother, Wisdom Williams. “I think it is incredible how the officer sprung into action and seemingly didn't have a lot of concern for his safety but for the safety of others. I think it is amazing that he did that, and I am very appreciative of that because had he not shown up the situation could have been a lot worse."
Williams said the shooting was extremely traumatic for her 4-year-old grandson, but he's doing well under the circumstances.
Armstrong has also been arrested and charged in connection to the shooting.