LPO Erika Munoz & Officer Marcos Ramirez
Tucson Police Department
In the early morning hours of June 10, 2018, officers responded to the report of a domestic violence incident at an apartment complex. Officer Munoz and Officer Ramirez arrived on scene and could smell something burning. Shortly after their arrival, they found one of the apartments was fiercely ablaze.
Officer Ramirez went to the apartment below the unit on fire to evacuate the couple inside and safely escort them to the parking lot. Officer Munoz was flagged down by a female that said she knew one of the residents in the apartment and stated that there was a 1-year old child inside.
Officer Munoz observed as a male exited the apartment, with no child, and then go back inside. The male turned out to be the suspect who was responsible for setting the apartment on fire.
While Officer Ramirez continued evacuations of surrounding apartments, Officer Munoz bravely entered the engulfed apartment with no protective gear on, in hopes of rescuing the child as the suspect exited the apartment once more, with no child.
While inside, the smoke and flames from the fire were tremendous. At one point, a fire extinguisher inside the apartment in close proximity to Officer Munoz exploded, due to the extreme temperatures, causing the window to shatter.
Officer Munoz was eventually forced out of the apartment due to the heat, fire and immense smoke. After leaving the unit, Officer Munoz and Officer Ramirez continued the evacuation efforts while waiting for the Tucson Fire Department to arrive.
In a review of the body worn camera footage of the incident, it was clear that Officer Munoz was struggling to breathe, yet she still managed to transmit clear direction to civilians and responding officers, alike, during the evacuations.
Officer Munoz and Officer Ramirez never once stopped thinking of others above themselves, and it is clear by their actions and directions to those involved ensuring no one was seriously hurt or killed during the incident.
A Tucson Fire Department Captain who was on scene stated that the coordination between officers and firefighters that night was the best he had ever seen in his career—there is no doubt that the heroic actions of both officers were the reason this occurred.
During the course of the attempted rescue, Officer Munoz faced potential deadly encounters on multiple occasions. The body worn camera shows Officer Munoz leaving the apartment just a few feet in front of the flames.
At the conclusion of the call, Officer Munoz was transported to University Medical Center to be treated for smoke inhalation and burns to the inside of her mouth, throat, and vocal cords, causing her to be out for two weeks.
Both Officer Ramirez and Officer Munoz exemplify what it means to be a Hero, not only through their actions, but through their selflessness of putting others before themselves every single day. They are true guardians of the community and the Tucson Police Department is proud and honored to have them serve with us.
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