Officer Dan Mead woke up on Saturday, Oct. 27, and put on his uniform, as he does every morning. He checked in at the station house and began his shift patrolling the streets of Pittsburgh with his partner, as he does every morning. Hours later, their routine descended into chaos.

“Active shooter,” crackled his radio.

They were the first officers on the scene.

Unhesitating, Mead and his partner approached the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue, guns drawn. As they neared the entrance, he came face to face with the gunman, whose semi-automatic rifle was pointed directly at them through a window. The attacker fired round after round, striking Mead in the arm.

The officers’ actions are believed to have saved countless lives, as it is speculated that the attacker was on the way to his car—laden with additional ammunition—to continue his deadly attacks, possibly at other sites.

After the officers approached, the gunman instead turned back to hide inside the building, where he was arrested by a SWAT team. In all, four law-enforcement officers were injured that day and are recovering in Pittsburgh.

While Mead recuperates at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital, he received a visit by Rabbi Yisroel Rosenfeld, rabbi and director of Chabad Lubavitch of Pittsburgh, who was accompanied by his son, Rabbi Henoch Rosenfeld.

“This is a man who took a bullet for the Jewish people,” says Yisroel Rosenfeld. “He refuses to call himself a hero. He said, ‘I was just doing my job.’ But it’s clear that he is one.”

“The Jewish community of Pittsburgh and the entire world owe this man a debt of gratitude,” he added.

The Rosenfelds brought letters of support and good wishes from second-grade students at Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh. “Dear Mr. Policeman,” one read, “Thank you for saving my life.”

From left: Rabbi Henoch Rosenfeld, Rabbi Yisroel Rosenfeld, Officer Dan Mead, Diane Mead (Dan’s sister) and Dr. Mylynda B Massart. Credit: Chabad.org/News.

Mead was introduced to the rabbis by Dr. Mylynda Massart, a prominent Pittsburgh physician who is a family friend of both the Rosenfelds and the Meads. Massart first met Chabad in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she was a member of Rabbi Benny Zippel’s Chabad congregation before moving to Pittsburgh and joining the local Jewish community.

“We extended an invitation to Officer Mead, as soon as he is feeling better, to visit Yeshiva Schools, where we are preparing a hero’s welcome,” said Henoch. “He said he would absolutely like to come.”