San Diego, California - San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan Sunday honored six brave individuals with a Citizens of Courage Award during the 29th annual event, which is held as part of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.
“These individuals all displayed extraordinary bravery in the face of serious crime,” DA Stephan said. “By honoring them, 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 Citizens of Courage were honored at a luncheon in front of more than 450 invited dignitaries, elected officials, community leaders and guests.
The DA's Victim Services Division and Victim Advocates were also recognized for the outstanding work they do year round.
This year’s Citizens of Courage recipients are:
DONNA COOPER: Victimized by an unlicensed dentist, Donna suffered significant injuries that required repeated corrective surgeries. She cooperated with investigators and provided key testimony during a jury trial that helped convict this con artist.
DYLAN GRAHAM: After he and his student were kidnapped at gunpoint and forced into a car, this high school coach acted with extraordinary bravery and quick thinking to disarm the kidnapper and allow both to escape safely.
DYLAN AND MARISA MABRITO: In spite of the likelihood of substantial negative consequences, this mother and son demonstrated extraordinary moral courage by providing DNA to investigators working to solve a cold case homicide.
MARK LOPEZ AND FERNANDO MELENDEZ: Two men who came to the aid of a stabbing victim and were suddenly targeted by the attacker who fired a crossbow at them, leading to a struggle that ended with the suspect’s arrest.
The DA’s Victim Services Division strives to reduce the trauma, frustration, and inconvenience experienced by victims, witnesses, and family members affected by crime. The Victim Assistance Program provides comprehensive services to all crime victims. Victim Advocates are focused on providing assistance to victims of violent crimes. In 2018, they assisted 13,315 new crime victims. This assistance included 1,567 crisis interventions and 13,718 resources and referrals.