Fresno County deputies honored for courage in the midst of gunfire

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- In a ceremony to honor some of the bravest heroes in Fresno County, one man stood out a little further from the rest. Fresno County Deputy John Erickson was there to receive a Purple Heart award.

Erickson was shot multiple times while responding to a dispute over a property line in the foothill community of Tollhouse last July.

"There are things I don't remember," said Erickson.

"I don't remember telling my ride along to get down. I don't remember blasting rounds through my windows. The problem is that I was having was - although the training is phenomenal with our agency - is not knowing where your enemy is shooting you from."

Erickson still has bullet fragments in his face, and a bullet lodged in his leg after getting shot three times.

It could have been much worse if not for the bravery of his partner Deputy Gary Davenport, who was also honored Thursday with the Medal of Valor.

Amid the chaos, Davenport was able to get a severely injured Erickson out of harm's way, dragging him to safety, all while dodging the continuing gunfire.

"Something had to be done; my friend was hurt," said Davenport. "I did what I could, and God kind of kept the bullets from coming my way, so I was able to succeed."

An emotional Erickson says the recovery process has been long, but the overwhelming support he's received from the community and his department has helped see him through.

"To everybody, I can't say enough, thanks."
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