TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) -- It was a night to honor heroism. Tuesday the Leon County Sheriff's Office honored deputies for their work over the past year, including Deputy Chris Smith, who was killed in the line of duty.
November 22nd, 2014 was a day they'll never forget. Deputies Chris Smith and Colin Wulfekuhl were attacked as they reported to the scene of a house fire. Both were shot, and Deputy Smith was killed.
“It was a big loss, especially to our shift. It's a loss that we can't even describe" said deputy Wulfekuhl.
Smith and Wulfekuhl were recognized as Leon County Deputies of the Year for their efforts that day. Sheriff Mike Wood said the memory of Deputy Smith is never forgotten. “We honor it every day. It's in conversation and practically everything we do."
Smith's two brothers, Stewart and Richard, accepted the award on behalf of Deputy Smith. The sheriff's office says it has been in touch with the family often since the shooting. "We've created a bond with the entire Smith family, his wife Erika, of course, and so, they'll be eternally be a part of the sheriff's office."
From the Sheriff's Department:
The Leon County Sheriff’s Office Citizens Academy Alumni Association would like to recognize Deputy Christopher Smith and Deputy Colin Wulfekuhl for their heroism and courage beyond words. On November 22, 2014, Deputy Smith made the ultimate sacrifice in a planned ambush on first responders.
Deputy Christopher Smith concerned for the safety of the residents on Caracus Court exited his vehicle to assist and instead was met with gunfire from the suspect who started the fire as bait for his evil plan of killing first responders.
It was this regard for the safety of the public that lead to him making the ultimate sacrifice.
Deputy Wulfekuhl having seen his shift partner gunned down, immediately engaged in an active gunfight with an active shooter whose intent that day was to kill as many first responders as he could.
During the gunfight Deputy Wulfekuhl was saved from a lethal gunshot by his vest and his shotgun was disabled due to deflecting another shot from the suspect.
While engaged in the gunfight Deputy Wulfekuhl shouted at responding Tallahassee Fire Department members who drove into the active shooting zone and took rounds in their engine trucks. This warning saved potentially many lives that day. There could have been more lives lost on November 22, 2014, if these deputies had not acted.
We would also be remised if we did not mention Investigator Scott Angulo and Officer Mark Lewis of the Tallahassee Police Department. Although they were not eligible to be nominated for this award their actions were no less heroic.