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Juanita Santana - photo Border Patrol Agent Tucson Sector On June 29, 1995, Border Patrol Agent Juanita Santana of the Tucson Border Patrol Station, was assigned to patrol a major smuggling route south of Tucson, Arizona. Shortly after 5:00 p.m., Agent Santana observed a suspicious vehicle and conducted a normal vehicle stop. When she reached the rear door of the car, the driver, without warning, pointed a handgun out of his window and immediately began firing at her. Two shots struck her in the chest directly over her heart. Both bullets were stopped by a bulletproof vest she was wearing. A third shot struck her left forearm and completely penetrated it below the elbow. The fourth shot struck her ammunition pouch, which was fastened to her gun belt. This fourth bullet disintegrated on impact and Agent Santana was struck in the abdomen by shrapnel from the bullet. Although struck four times and seriously wounded, Agent Santana drew her revolver and returned fire at the driver. Agent Santana ran back to her patrol vehicle and immediately began to pursue the fleeing suspects. She radioed for assistance and informed the Communications Center that she had been shot. Even though she was injured and bleeding heavily, she maintained her composure and clearly broadcast all pertinent suspect information.
To all who shall see the presents, greeting: This is to certify that the Chief of the United States Border Patrol has awarded the Purple Cross Medal to William N. Purdy for wounds sustained during the performance of his official duties as a Border Patrol Inspector on September 30, 1962, in Oxford, Mississippi. Inspector Purdy was shot and wounded by a sniper during a riot at the University of Mississippi. Throughout this harrowing ordeal, Inspector Purdy exhibited exemplary inner strength and courage, which are in keeping with the finest traditions of, and reflect, highly upon, the United States Border Patrol.
Note - Inspector Purdy also received a Letter of Appreciation from President Kennedy for this action. Follow this link to see that recognition.
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