Central Texas peace officers honored in Washington DC at 'Top Cops' and National Mall vigil

At the 28th Annual Candlelight Vigil on the National Mall produced by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 252 peace officers killed in the line of duty were remembered and honored. 

"It's important to celebrate the lives of our officers that have given the ultimate sacrifice," said Lt, Colonel Kevin Eldridge from the Colorado State Patrol.

Families and friends started arriving early in the afternoon to the sounds of pipes and drums.  An estimated 20,000 people were expected to attend.

Among the many names read aloud from Texas, Hutto Police Sgt. Christopher Kelley who was killed last June by a man he was trying to arrest.

While spending the weekend in the Nation's Capitol we also covered the 2016 Top Cops Awards.  Austin Police Officer Carlos Lopez received the honor.

Even though one Top Cop was chosen at the end of the ceremony, Lopez along with officers from 9 other police departments from around the country are considered this year's "Top Cops," chosen from hundreds of nominations. 

Last July, 35-year-old Michael Holt walked into the Omni Hotel in downtown Austin and opened fire, killing 60-year-old cab driver Conrado Contreras.

Video released by APD shows officer Lopez springing into action with his rifle.  After an exchange of gunfire, Lopez fired the fatal shot killing holt and preventing more deaths.

"My response was just something that any other patrol officer would have done if they were in my position," Lopez told Fox 7.

When people say facing that danger was heroic, Lopez points out that's just what law enforcement officers do.

"It wasn't my first time in the Omni and it's definitely not going to be my last time.  I'll continue to take service calls there, I work downtown, that's what I do," Lopez said.

Austin Police Association President Ken Casaday and Assistant Chief Jessica Robledo are proud of him.

"It was a very sad event.  An officer never wants to take someone's life.  But fortunately Carlos was in the right place at the right time last year and was able to stop any further loss of life," Casaday said.

"He's a hero.  The dedication and the sacrifice that he made is huge and I think what an event like this does is it highlights that," Robledo said.

"I deeply appreciated it.  Especially when you get any type of award from your colleagues, it makes you appreciate it that much more," Lopez said.

Read Central Texas Officers honored at Top Cop Awards in Washington D.C.

Read Fallen Hutto Police Officer Christopher Kelley honored in Washington DC

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