The Cape Coral, Fla. Police Department presented Lebanon native Matt Mills its medal of honor award last week.
Mills received the award alongside Officer Andrew Miller for their actions in dealing with an armed man in a Cape Coral neighborhood last year.
In June 2013, Mills and Miller responded to a report of the armed man walking around a neighborhood and firing shots from a rifle, according to Cape Coral police reports.
Upon arrival, the suspect, identified as Mark Chernin, was holding a Ruger .233 rifle, had a .40 caliber pistol in his waistband and a .45 caliber pistol on a leg holster, the report said.
Mills and Miller attempted talk with Chernin in an attempt for him to drop his weapon and surrender to authorities. Chernin refused and began to raise the rifle in the direction of the officers. The officers fired at Chernin, striking him. Chernin died at the scene.
The state attorney’s office and the Cape Coral Police Professional Standards Bureau concluded the shooting was justified and within policy after performing an internal investigation.
“I am extremely proud of all of our officers, including officers Mills and Miller, who placed themselves in harm’s way, by advancing toward an armed individual, to protect our citizens,” said Cape Coral Chief of Police Bart Connelly. “They responded in a competent and professional manner to an incident in which one shot had already been fired and, although the outcome was unfortunate, they performed admirably.”
“I’ve known Matt and his family for several years,” said Lebanon police Chief Scott Bowen. “I’m so happy that Matt received such a prestigious award for his actions in dealing with a very difficult situation.”
Mills is the son of Julie and Jim Mills, former city councilor.