POMPANO BEACH (CBSMiami) — Two officers were honored Friday for their brave actions in the line of duty after a struggle with a passenger escalated, leading to a shooting at the Golden Glades Tri-Rail station.
The South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA) said they created the “Distinguished Service Award,” for Officers James Errante, 62; Lester Anderson,52, and another worker who they say went above and beyond the call of duty to protect and aid Tri-Rail passengers.
The award was presented to them at SFRTA Headquarters in Pompano Beach.
Errante and Anderson were severely injured, but their actions enabled police to capture 34-year-old John Miller of Homestead who was allegedly involved in a struggle with them on February 6th.
Miami-Dade Police say Errante and Anderson, removed Miller from a tri-rail train because he seemed suspicious. Police say there was a confrontation on the platform.
“He lunged from the bench and went for my weapon, holding onto my weapon,” Errante said. “We were struggling back and forth.”
During the struggle, two bullets went through Errante’s thigh and left him with just one thought.
“I”m not going to die today,” Errante said.
Errante’s partner, Lester Anderson, is a former Jamaican police officer and rushed to help get the gun away from the man. That’s when the duo said Miller used his teeth.
“He got me here and here and all of this in his mouth,” Anderson said of the bites.
Somehow, Miller slipped away and turned to shoot Anderson. Anderson shot Miller twice and the suspect was later arrested. He remains in jail on attempted murder charges.
The wives of the security officers said they were touched that the duo was being acknowledged for their heroic actions, but more than anything are happy their husbands survived that night.
“I’m butterfly, I’m butterfly. I can’t find the words,” said Anderson’s wife, Kathleen.
Police were then able to arrest Miller and charge him with attempted murder.
Errante is still rehabbing his leg and has not come back to work since the shooting. Anderson has just started working security on the Tri-Rail trains again. He said even after the shooting left scars on his hand, he’s not afraid to do his job.
Conductor Thomas Baker also received an award after he helped revive a a 65-year old woman who collapsed on the east platform on February 15th.