Coconut Creek Officer Michael Leonard might have apprehended Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz, but he says that the heroic efforts of first responders also deserve praise.
The Sun-Sentinel reported Tuesday that Leonard, whom Broward County commissioners honored for his bravery, said that he was simply doing his job and that he is "honored to wear the badge."
Commissioners proclaimed Tuesday as Officer Michael Leonard and Coconut Creek Police Department Appreciation Day.
"It’s not about me," Leonard said during remarks delivered in front of the commissioners. "It’s about my brothers and sisters in law enforcement, fire rescue, first responders. We all had a role that day. We continue to have that role in keeping our cities and streets safe."
"I'm honored to be a part of this," he added. "I’m honored to wear the badge."
Leonard spotted Cruz in the hours after the Feb. 14 mass shooting, several miles away from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where the massacre took place.
Leonard also described the course of events that led him to apprehend Cruz.
"Based on some radio traffic, I was able to determine who he was," Leonard explained. "I knew that there were individuals that had passed away already at this killer’s hands."
"When you come against evil like that and you have children at home that are about that age, it’s very close to my heart," Leonard said, who has a 13-year-old daughter and 18-year-old son. "It was difficult, but I’m so honored that I was able to be a part and do my part and take this killer into custody."
Leonard called first responders "heroes" and added that he was just doing his job.
"We get up every day, we give our wives and children and loved ones hugs, and we're not sure we're going to come back at the end of the day," he told the Sun-Sentinel. "We do it because we care, we want to serve the community. All my brothers and sisters out there are heroes."
You can watch some of Leonard's remarks here.