SCITUATE, R.I. (WPRI) — Seven Rhode Island state troopers who have died in the line of duty were remembered with honors Thursday at the 28th Annual Rhode Island State Police memorial ceremony.
So, too, were all sworn and civilian members of the state police, both active and retired, as tradition.
A special honor, though, went to a detective with who put himself at risk to help others during the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas.
Det. Conor O’Donnell was awarded the State Police Service Ribbon for helping to save others when a gunman opened fire at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in October 2017. Fifty-eight people were killed and more than 400 were injured by gunfire.
The ribbon is the highest honor that can be bestowed on a Rhode Island trooper.
Among those praising the detective’s courage were State Police Col. James Manni and Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo.
“Detective O’Donnell’s heroic actions in Las Vegas two years ago prove that none of our police officers are ever truly ‘off-duty,'” said Gov. Raimondo. “We all owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude for putting his life on the line to protect strangers.”
Det. O’Donnell joined the State Police in 2011. He is the son of the retired head of the state police, Steven O’Donnell, and telephoned his father briefly during the shooting to say he was OK. He made sure his girlfriend, Esther, was taken to a safe zone, but then rushed out to help injured people across the festival site.
The memorial ceremony is traditionally held during National Police Week, when tribute is paid to law enforcement officers across the country.