Corporal Jesse Balderamas hailed as hero, awarded Medal Of Valor
Balderamas awarded department's highest honor for actions on Sept. 19
The City of Selma honored two of its police officers Thursday night who were wounded in a shootout with a suspect last September.
The officers were responding to a domestic violence call when the suspect, himself a former police officer, opened fire on them inside his home.
Corporal Jesse Balderamas received a hero's welcome at the Selma City Council meeting as he was awarded a purple heart and the medal of valor, the department's highest honor, for his actions on Sept. 19, 2013.
Despite his heroic actions that night, Balderamas is having a tough time accepting the title of hero.
"I don't think I'm a hero. I think I just acted on instinct," Balderamas said. "I just fell back on my training and human instincts."
Balderamas responded to a domestic violence call that night, providing backup to fellow Selma officer Tiffany Kierum.
When Balderamas arrived at the home in the 9000 block of Pinseeker officer Kierum was already inside the home talking to the suspect, 33-year-old Jessie Hernandez Junior.
"As soon as I walked in the door is when he opened fire on us," Balderamas said. "I'll be honest with you it caught me by surprise, I wasn't even expecting that."
Balderamas saw Kierum take a shot to the face then he felt a bullet enter his right leg, shattering his femur. As he fell to the ground he pulled his gun and returned fire, hitting the suspect twice.
"As I was going backwards, by the time I hit the ground, I already had my weapon in my hand. So sometime in between there I unholstered and actually drew a bead on him," Balderamas recalled. "The first shot didn't stop him, the second shot stopped him."
Bleeding and in severe pain, Balderamas covered a gravely wounded Kierum and waited for backup.
In less than 2 minutes Live Oak Corporal Frank Lara arrived and secured the scene, handcuffing Hernandez.
The City of Selma recognized Lara for his role in protecting the officers.
Officer Kierum, who has only been with the department 14 months, was awarded a purple heart and special commendation from the city.
Hernandez, a former officer with Corpus Christi police, was terminated for misconduct 5 years ago. He's charged with aggravated assault on a public servant.
Both officers continue to recover from their injuries. Corporal Balderamas said he hopes to return to light duty as soon as next March.
"Physically I am taking it one day at a time. It's a slow process," Balderamas said. "It's a life changer. Things that we took for granted, that I took for granted, that I'm actually having to start all over doing again, but the progress is going good. I'm taking it day by day and improving day by day."
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