A Charleston police officer who was shot four times pursuing a fleeing suspect was awarded one of the department's highest honors.

Officer Cory Goldstein recently received the Medal of Valor for putting his life at risk last March, department spokesman Charles Francis said. He returned to duty in June.

Here's what happened, according to police.

About 10:30 p.m. March 30, 2013, Goldstein tried to pull over a car with darkly tinted windows near Ashley River Road and Tobias Gadsden Boulevard. The driver led the officer on a chase that ended when the car crashed into a guardrail at I-526 and Savannah Highway. The driver jumped out and ran toward the Comfort Inn.

Goldstein ran after him. The driver started shooting and Goldstein was hit in the leg, arm, hand and the chest. His protective vest probably saved his life.

Goldstein returned fire and wounded the suspect, bringing him down to the ground. Other officers arrived to take him into custody.

"His actions in the face of imminent danger, and his courage to continue to engage to ensure the safety of not only himself, but responding officers, and the citizens of Charleston, reflect great credit upon himself, the Charleston Police Department, and the city of Charleston," Francis said.

Police identified the suspect as Mark Lorenzo Blake, who was 26 at the time and lived on Jobee Drive. He remains in the Charleston County jail under $75,000 bail on multiple charges including attempted murder and trafficking cocaine and heroin.

Last week, Blake was scheduled to appear for a plea hearing, but he was still in a holding cell when he rejected prosecutors' offer. He never walked into the downtown courtroom.

His attorney has argued in past proceedings that the police had wrongly singled out his car for a traffic stop last year because of its darkly tinted windows and out-of-state tag.

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.