4 Visalia Police officers honored for bravery

FRESNO, Calif.

Action News spoke exclusively to Sannar's wife as she reflects on the past year without her husband. This is the first time Julie Sannar has talked to the local media in the Central Valley since last year's shooting.

Julie and dozens of other people honored four Visalia police officers at Tuesday's city council meeting for their heroic efforts. More than 80 people packed the ballroom at the Visalia Convention Center Tuesday night for a special city council meeting.

Chief Colleen Mestas awarded each of them with the Medal of Valor. These four officers were the first to respond to last year's deadly shooting of Clay Sannar in the South Valley.

Josh Pena recalls that fateful day one year ago. "You can never train for a certain type of day. And you know that certain day I was working overtime. And I was only 15 minutes into my shift and it all came about." said Pena.

Pena and the other three officers shook hands with Julie Sannar.

Julie's husband Clay was the man gunned down by Kenneth Ward inside of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Visalia. Ward would later get into a shootout with police.

Julie tried to describe the exchange between her and the officers.

"There were kind of no words. You know just handshake said it all. I was grateful for the, it was just a deep heartfelt exchange and, I mean there were words but it was hard to express." said Julie Sannar.

Sannar has since moved out of her home in Visalia but she continues to live in the Central Valley with her six boys. She did not want to talk about the day of the shooting but said her sons have had to grow up in a big way since their father's death.

"Well we all have our moments. But they have become little men this year. And they've become very strong examples to me and we've grown a lot. And we've been helped so much by our friends. Our family and the community." added Julie Sannar.

The Medal of Valor is not given out often in Visalia. In fact the last time an officer received the award was in 2000. One of the recipients of the award was Captain Perry Phillips who collected his third medal.

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