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Deputy saved by ballistic vest honored with Purple Heart

EUREKA- The Humboldt County Sheriff's Deputy that was shot while serving a civil eviction in Shelter Cove was honored Monday with a Purple Heart.

Deputy Bang Cao was given a Humboldt County Sheriff's Purple Heart by Sheriff Mike Downey. He was honored in front of fellow law enforcement, the Sheriff of Mendocino County, members of the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors and newly elected District Attorney Maggie Fleming.

Cao was allegedly shot by 55-year-old William Nelson on May 6th. He was taken via helicopter to a hospital and received bruising from the gun shot. A ballistic vest is credited for saving his life.

"I'm still here," Cao said. "That day is a big day in my life, something I probably won't ever forget, but I'm just happy to be alive."

Sheriff Mike Downey said the incident could have ended very differently. "To me that was a real testament to what type of people we have in this profession. Willing to lay their lives on the line and do their jobs without any hesitation," Downey said.

The company that made the vest, Point Blank Enterprises, hosted the event and honored Cao with an award.