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Officers honored for roles in shooting
Three members of the Monroe Police Department from left, Officer Christian Hammel, Corporal Jacob Towns and Detective Larry Keegan received Exceptional Service awards for their roles in a shooting in Monroe in July. (Photo supplied)
MONROE - Three Monroe Police Department officers, two Green County Sheriff's Office deputies and a Green County dispatcher received awards for exceptional service during the fatal shooting of a homicide suspect last July.

Corporal Jacob Towns, Detective Larry Keegan and Officer Christian Hammel received Exceptional Service awards for their roles during the events surrounding the shooting of Francisco Benitez Santiago on July 22, 2015.

Monroe Police Chief Fred Kelley said although the three officers did not themselves shoot Santiago, a review of their actions found they acted above and beyond the call of duty during a high-stakes situation.

Witnesses said Santiago shot two men at a trailer home on 17th Street, killing one and critically wounding another. Shortly thereafter, a witness reported Santiago, armed and covered in blood, at an address on 12th Street.

Deputies Cody Kanable and John Schuetz responded to that address and ordered Santiago to fall to the ground and drop his weapon. Santiago instead pointed his gun at the deputies, who responded by shooting him.

Green County District Attorney Gary Luhman found the shooting justified.

Kanable and Schuetz received Valor awards for their actions, while Katherine Vetterli, the dispatcher on duty at the time of the shooting, received a Sheriff's Commendation.

Kelley said Towns was the officer in charge of the patrol shift at the time of the incident and was therefore in charge of the Monroe police response at the scene of the shooting.

Keegan and Hammel were also present at the shooting and administered first aid to Santiago after the shooting, to no avail, Kelley said.

The last time a Monroe police officer received this award was after an incident several years ago when an officer entered a house full of carbon monoxide to carry out a resident, Kelley said.

"We don't give these awards often," Kelley said.