Six crime victims, including a couple attacked as they collected cardboard in an alley, were honored for their bravery Wednesday during the 25th Annual Citizens of Courage Awards in San Diego.
This year’s Citizens of Courage recipients include:
- Azalyea Duran, 8, who was stabbed 26 times when she walked in on a man murdering her mother in San Marcos. The girl survived and helped convict her mother’s killer;
- John and Mary Cates, an elderly couple who were attacked as they collected cardboard in an alley. John Cates, 71, was faced with the decision of leaving his wife, 64, in the attacker’s clutches or to save her life;
- Sean Simpson, a carjacking victim shot and left dying in a parking lot by gang members. After recovering from his life-changing injuries, Simpson testified against the gang member;
- Daniel Wagner, a young man who witnessed a car crash on a dark stretch of Interstate 805 and courageously came to the aid of multiple victims in the middle of the night. After he rescued a family from an overturned van, Wagner and the boy he had just pulled to safety witnessed a second crash that killed the boy’s parents, and;
- Maria, a human trafficking victim who at age 13 was smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico, sexually assaulted and forced by her own relatives into prostitution and slave labor.
“These individuals displayed extraordinary bravery in the face of serious crime,” District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said. “By honoring them today, we’re also shining a light on the thousands of crime victims our office reaches out to every year in San Diego County and the importance of supporting victims’ rights.”
The victims were honored in front of more than 300 invited dignitaries, elected officials, community leaders and guests.
– City News Service