With a crazed fugitive gunman lurking down the hall, Miami-Dade Officer Richard Hansen sneaked into a Miami Gardens home to rescue three hostages from the laundry room.
From the back door, he led a grandmother out first. Then, her 7-year-oldgranddaughter.
But the final hostage -- a 3-year-old girl -- was so spooked by the commotion, she turned around and began running back inside.
"You could see the terror in her eyes," Hansen said. "So I snatched her up and was trying to reassure her."
Hansen and his cover -- Officer Edwin Gonzalez, Detective Brad Burke and Sgt. Eric Mendez -- at a news conference Thursday, recounted last November's dramatic rescue.
Their efforts paid off: The three hostages survived. The gunman, Troy McLean, 24, surrendered later after Special Response Team officers shot tear gas into the house, 765 NW 185th Dr.
And this: The four will be flown to Washington D.C. this month to be honored by the National Association of Police Organizations. The TOP COPS award is given in only 10 cases nationwide.
"It's extremely humbling," Gonzalez said.
On Nov. 12, an officer had tried pulling over McLean, who bailed out of a stolen car and took refugee inside the home of Barbara King, 64. "I've got a gun. Don't do anything stupid," McLean told the occupants, according to police reports.
King and her granddaughters cowered in the back laundry room as McLean paced in the front of the home, eyeing uniformed officers through the window.
Hansen, Gonzalez, Burke and Mendez -- all K9 officers -- left their dogs behind, geared up in vests and quickly planned out a rescue. King was quietly talking to police via cellphone -- she told them she feared passing out.
Hansen cut a chain lock on the back of the house. He darted inside with the other three providing cover.
They never saw McLean but later learned he was down a hall, waiting to ambush whoever came in.
"He was a desperate man at this point," Mendez said.