Santa Rosa police would have relished honoring Timothy Gillaspie, a true hero who saved his family and several others, with their new civilian Medal of Courage.

But Gillaspie was killed last June by the heavily armed man he foiled from attacking the hosts and guests of a dinner party in Rincon Valley.

So, on Sunday, Lt. John Cregan and Sgt. Josh Ludtke went to a football game in Forestville and presented Timothy Gillaspie’s Medal of Courage to his sons, Conner, 14, and Shane, 11.

The presentation took place at El Molino High School before a game between the Santa Rosa Stallions and Redwood PAL Golden Bears because Timothy Gillaspie was a champion of youth sports and had been involved with both teams.

Gillaspie’s widow, Katrina, also was present for the Medal of Courage ceremony.

Police believe Timothy Gillaspie saved multiple lives when he confronted 65-year-old Walter Ross of Colorado Springs at a neighbor’s front door. Carrying two handguns, Ross planned to kill his estranged wife and others at the home, then plant bombs to explode upon the arrival of first responders, police said.

Ross wounded his 41-year-old son and 4-year-old grandson during the attack that left Gillaspie dead. Ross died later from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.