While the incident took place almost two years ago, Moffitt did not receive the award until May 2023 because the case was ongoing.
“The Purple Heart Medal is awarded to any employee who, while in the line of duty, is killed or seriously injured as a result of, or in reaction to, actions taken by another person,” Sandy Police said in the announcement.
On Sept. 8, 2021, the Sandy SWAT team arrived at the residence of Sean Dejesus Darragh to serve a search warrant when police say Darragh fired a pistol hitting Moffitt across his cheek and in his arm. Moffitt fired back injuring Darragh, according to court documents.
Sgt. Moffitt was transported to the hospital and underwent surgery to remove a bullet that had lodged in his neck.
“Obviously this is something we are aware of as police officers, it can happen at any time. When it strikes close to home it is particularly scary,” Sgt. Swensen said at the time. “It is a risk we are willing to take but this hits close, and we are glad he is going to be OK.”
When reflecting on the award, Moffitt said he was “incredibly grateful” that he was able to be here to receive it as many recipients of this award are no longer here. In those tragic cases, the awards are given to the families.
He also said he feels grateful to have recovered from his injuries and been able to return to the force after being shot in the line of duty, saying that is unfortunately not the case for many people who are awarded a Purple Heart Medal.
The case was resolved in March when Darragh took a plea deal and was sentenced to 10 years in prison for drug trafficking and gun-related charges.