Dawson College hero graduates from police academy
James Santos graduated from the Nicolet police academy on Friday, Feb. 24, 2017. He is seen here with his girlfriend, Vanessa Pizzichemi.
Published Friday, February 24, 2017 8:47PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, February 25, 2017 3:58PM EST
The man who talked to the Dawson College shooter for 20 minutes has fulfilled a lifelong dream and graduated from police academy.
James Santos was among 71 students who graduated Friday from the Ecole Nationale de police du Quebec in Nicolet.
Santos was cited for excellence by his teachers for many attributes, including his positive attitude.
He has applied for a position with the Montreal police force, and told CTV Montreal that is the only city where he wishes to work.
"I wanted to become a police officer before Dawson, but after that incident I knew I wanted to become a police officer," said Santos.
"Ideally I would love and want to work for the same organization, the SPVM, because they sort of gave me another chance."
Ten years ago Santos was sitting in the cafeteria at Dawson College and talking to Anastasia De Sousa when a gunman ran inside and began shooting.
De Sousa was killed, and the gunman took Santos and another man hostage for 20 minutes.
He tried to convince the man to let him bring De Sousa outside so she could get medical help, to no avail.
After a short time the gunman ordered Santos to stand in front of him as he tried to walk out of the cafeteria.
That's when a police officer shot the gunman who then took his own life.
In the decade since Santos has served in the Armed Forces and gone through police training.
He was also awarded Canada's second-highest civilian award for bravery, the Star of Courage.