On Jan. 26, 2021, VA Police Sergeant Allen Tolentino was awarded VA’s National Heroism Award. The award was for single-handedly stopping a female shooter in February 2020. She had shot and injured a Veteran waiting for a ride outside Fayetteville’s VA Urgent Care Center.

“Sgt. Tolentino is an outstanding police sergeant. If you ask, he would say he was ‘just doing his job,’” said Daniel Dücker, the executive director of Fayetteville VA.

“He is a hero in every sense of the word,”Dücker continued. “Because of his willingness to take bold action, he saved countless people from being harmed. He placed his own life in disregard and is more than deserving of the heroism award.”

Raced outside after first shot

Tolentino raced outside the urgent care after hearing the first shot fired. He immediately ordered the woman to drop her gun. He took her into custody, called for help for the injured Veteran and then waited for reinforcement to arrive.

Within minutes, the Fayetteville Police Department and FBI arrived to help neutralize the situation.

“He has been a beacon of stability, trust, and reliability for the VA Police Department, and we are grateful for his service to our Veterans and staff,” said Stephen Oliver, chief of police for the Fayetteville VA.

Pictured above, Dücker and Oliver present Allen Tolentino (center) with the VA National Heroism Award for his courageous actions during the active shooter incident.

Quick reaction and composure

The National Heroism Award is a prestigious award recognized by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and reserved for very few recipients nationwide.

“Sgt. Tolentino’s attention to detail, quick reaction to the situation while maintaining his composure during such a critical time is what it takes to be a VA Police Officer,” said William Hendley, lead police chief for VISN 6. “I commend Sgt. Tolentino for his outstanding performance to duty on that date and living-up to the VA police motto of ‘Protecting Those Who Served.'”


Tara Ricks-Edger is the director of communications for VISN 6. Brad Garner is a visual information specialist for the Fayetteville, NC, VA Medical Center and VISN 6.

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Published on Feb. 7, 2021

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