HESPERIA • The Sheriff's Medal of Valor is not taken lightly by the county's top cop.
On Thursday, four San Bernardino County Sheriff's deputies from the Hesperia station were honored by their peers, family members and Sheriff Rod Hoops with the Medal of Valor for bravery.
On June 26, 2010, a veteran of the war in Iraq that was suffering from severe post traumatic stress disorder was yelling and screaming and making threats to the lives of the family residing in the home located at the 7800 block of Oxford Avenue in Hesperia, according to sheriff's records.
As Deputies Michael Cleary, Scott Nobles, Charles Foster and Antonio Higuera arrived on the scene they found Sam Bengoa fully enraged and demanding that the deputies shoot and kill him.
Bengoa, 31, tried to strike them through an open window and threw alcohol bombs at the deputies in a bid to provoke the officers into shooting him.
As deputies tried to calm Bengoa and bring him and the others out of the home safely, Bengoa became even angrier, according to authorities.
Fearing Bengoa would burn the house down with everyone inside, deputies came up with a non-lethal plan to end the incident and began orchestrating their efforts to take him into custody without harm.
Deputies threw a rubber ball grenade through the window to distract Bengoa. As the grenade went off, deputies kicked in the door allowing Cleary to enter the bedroom and fire three non-lethal shotgun rounds at Bengoa, even as Bengoa rushed the deputies.
Higuera and Nobles Tasered Bengoa while Foster provided cover.
No one was harmed and Bengoa was received only minor injuries.
For their actions during that crucial incident Cleary, Higuera, Foster and Nobles were awarded the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Medal of Valor at a ceremony in Rancho Cucamonga.
Dressed in their Class "A" uniforms the four Hesperia deputies, along with 11 others for other acts of heroism, lined up to be draped with the honor so few have received.
"In these situations officer safety must be a priority and teamwork is essential so all officers and victims involved in the incident go home safe," Hoops said.