Officer Taylor Rust

(Plano Police Department, Texas)

On September 10, 2017, the Plano Police Department received a call about a male suspect who was reportedly attempting to get into a residence, possibly armed with a knife and a gun. Additional information noted that the suspect’s vehicle was possibly parked in the back alley driveway.

Officer Taylor Rust was already in the area and quickly arrived on the scene. He entered the back alley, anticipating that the suspect might attempt to flee in his vehicle. There were no house numbers to identify the address. Officer Rust suddenly heard a long burst of gunfire. He announced "shots fired" over the radio and that he was trying to locate the house. He got out on foot and heard another long burst of gunfire that identified the exact house. He then heard a third burst of gunfire as he moved to the rear of the residence.

Officer Rust decided there was no time to wait for backup. He entered the backyard alone and saw a female crouched down with her hands covering her head. She confirmed there was gunfire inside the residence. Officer Rust saw several other people in the backyard who had been shot. He believed that anyone in the house was a potential target and would be killed if he did not immediately intervene.

Officer Rust opened the door and saw several people sitting or lying directly in front of him in the living room, but there was no way to immediately determine their condition. Simultaneously, he heard footsteps coming from the hallway leading into the living room. The suspect appeared from the hallway, armed with an assault rifle on a sling and in the ready position, and he appeared to be searching for more victims. The suspect faced Officer Rust and the victims with his rifle still in the ready position, which prompted Officer Rust to shoot and kill the suspect to protect himself and the others in the house.

Officer Rust then requested medical assistance for the victims and continued to secure the scene until other officers arrived to assist. During this violent assault, eight victims were shot and killed by the gunman; however, Officer Rust’s quick response and heroic actions allowed one wounded victim and three unharmed people to survive the assault.

Officer Rust acted bravely in a highly dangerous and violent situation that put him in immediate peril. He made the courageous decision to go in alone, and not wait for back up, to stop the killing. The actions of Officer Rust demonstrated extraordinary bravery and a willingness to save the lives of others without regard to his own personal safety.

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