A Bloomington Police officer was presented Friday with the Congressional Badge of Bravery for his actions during a November 2014 shootout.
U.S. Sens. Dan Coats (R-IN) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) presented the badge to Officer William Abram and spoke at a ceremony in Bloomington. Josh Minkler, United States Attorney in the Southern District of Indiana, also attended.
In November 2014, Abram rushed to a Bloomington apartment on a call of two Indiana University students being raped at gunpoint. He knocked on the door and heard shots coming from inside the apartment. Abram shot back, wounding both suspects. An EMT, he immediately provided first-aid. It was all captured on this body camera.
"We are so blessed - Bloomington and Indiana and our country - to have men and women like you keeping us safe and protecting us," said Sen. Donnelly. "On behalf of our entire state, we want to thank you for saving these girls' lives, for protecting the people of Bloomington and for protecting all of us."
Sen. Coats recalled a burglary he interrupted at his home several years ago. Within a few minutes of calling 911, the police arrived. "They didn't know I was a senator. I didn't get any special treatment. That was a scary moment. I cannot begin to compare that with the situation you went through," he said, addressing Officer Abram.
"This act of bravery and responsibility and the way you handled it and the way the department handled it led to this award," said Sen. Coats. "It's a great tribute not just to you and to our police force," he said, but to the "entire community in terms of the way you are trained to handle these situations."
Abram took on two suspects accused of raping Indiana University students. He didn't back down when they started shooting at him.
It was the first time Abram, who attended Friday's ceremony with his wife and four children, talked publicly about what happened. He was quick to share credit with his fellow officers..
"It's nice to know someone else is showing up. You always got other people coming. Everyone is going to come no matter what. You can hear them in the background doing their best to get there and they all did a good job helping to catch these people," Officer Abram said.
Receiving the award was an honor not just just for Abram and his wife, but for his young children who will one day learn just how brave their Dad is.
Abram's wife, Susie, went into labor shortly after he called to tell her what happened that night.
"It's never a fun phone call to make, and my wife was 3 cm dilated when I got the call to tell her. I said, 'Hey, I'm gonna be a little late. So yeah, three days later we had our youngest boy who's out in the hallway making all sorts of noise!" he said.
The Congressional Badge of Bravery is awarded annually by the U.S. Attorney General for exceptional acts of bravery in the line of duty by federal, state and local law enforcement officers.
While Abram was grateful for the award, he also said he will never forget what led to it.
"Every day I think about the females in that house. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and it's not just me and my wife, I know the whole department worries about them," said Abram.