KENNER, LA (WVUE) - The officer who took down an armed man at Armstrong Airport was honored Friday with a visit from the secretary of Homeland Security.
Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office Lt. Heather Sylve shot and killed Richard White, who attacked TSA agents at the airport on March 20. White wielded a machete, Molotov cocktails and wasp spray in the Southwest concourse.
Sylve was near the end of her shift when White attacked. She was forced to pull the trigger as White charged the security post.
"I've never, ever, ever felt fear or terror in my life to that capacity," she said. Sylve said when she felt the TSA agents were clear, she shot White. The Kenner man died the next day.
Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson visited Sylve and TSA agents who were at the scene. He shared hugs and smiles with Sylve and TSA supervisor Carol Richel, who suffered a graze wound during the chaotic moments of the attack.
"Her first instinct after the incident was to secure her TSA inspection site. She also came to work the next day," Johnson said in praise of Richel's actions.
He said Sylve's actions were a "shining example for all law enforcement in this country."
"The bravery and dedication of these women, and our TSA workforce at this airport and at airports across the country, is an inspiration," the Department of Homeland security wrote on its Facebook page.
Sylve was awarded Thursday with Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand's Award of Excellence.