Special salute: 6 Yonkers officers honored for exceptional acts of valor

YONKERS, Westchester County (WABC) -- Six officers from the Yonkers Police Department were honored as Police Officer of the Year after all six were involved in what has been described as a "Wild West shootout."

Capt. Andrew Lane, Det. Kayla Maher, Det. Dawn Lebzelter, Officer Brendan Moore, Officer Thomas Bennett and Officer Vincent Reda were honored for exceptional acts of valor by the state Department of Criminal Justice Services.

"What I saw that day was a mixture of courageous heroism and compassion," Yonkers Mayor Michael Spano said..

It stemmed from Maher and Lebzelter answering a call of a suspicious car parked on a Yonkers street on September 25, 2017. As Maher approached the car, she was suddenly shot once in the face.

"I cannot imagine the shock that went through her system realizing she had been shot in the face by a bullet that close -- wondering if she was going to live or die," Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul said, describing the extremely dangerous set of circumstances then faced by the officers and four others who responded.

"Officer Reda and Officer Bennett laid down suppression fire that enabled Officer Moore to reach Officer Mahar and pull her to safety," Hochul said.

The officers then saved the life of one of the suspects.

Mahar continues to recover and her partner, Lebzelter, shares the honor with her fellow officers.

"You never want to be in this situation but I couldn't ask for better cops to work with," Lebzelter said. "Work with a great team and if it wasn't for all of them it could have been a very different situation."

The six officers are the first from the Yonkers Police Department to receive the award which was established three decades ago.

Watch the ceremony below:

* More Northern Suburbs news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
* Follow us on YouTube
Copyright © 2021 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.