The shooting was over within a minute, and before many of the customers and employees at the supermarket in Glendora knew what was going on, an armed robber laid fatally injured on the floor.
The officer who shot Luis Varela, Jr., a 29-year-old who was wanted for a string of armed robberies – including a and a , had saved the lives of the people who were there at the Ralphs store that evening on May 15, 2011.
Glendora Police Corporal Chris Stabio has been recognized by the California Robbery Investigators Association as their 2011 Officer of the Year for his involvement in the .
While on patrol that evening, Stabio recognized Varela as the suspect wanted in connection with two armed robberies in Glendora, including a robbery at Kohl’s earlier that day. Varela ran into the Ralph’s store with Stabio following close behind. Varela turned and began shooting at Stabio, who returned fire.
According to a press statement, Varela sustained a gunshot wound to the head in the shooting and died at a hospital two days later.
“This is truly a high honor for Chris,” said Police Chief Rob Castro in a press statement. “The award reflects Chris’ incredible bravery, his split-second timing and reaction, and his constant tactical mindset.”
While also a patrol officer and Field Training Officer, Stabio serves as one of the department’s Range Masters and is part of the Foothills Special Enforcement Team.
Joe McDonald, a CRPI board member and a Detective Sergeant with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, San Dimas station, said Corporal Stabio will be formally honored by the CRPI at their annual training conference in Reno, Nev. in early February.