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  • WEAR YOUR VEST

    Officer Shot But Spared By Vest
    Cop returns fire, kills suspected car thief



    By Sean Gardiner, Chastity Pratt and Bryan Virasami
    STAFF WRITERS

    October 10, 2001


    A Queens police officer's bulletproof vest may have saved his life when he was shot in an exchange of gunfire that left a suspected car thief dead behind Shea Stadium yesterday afternoon.

    Sgt. John Asam, 36, was shot in the torso at 4:35 p.m. by a man who had been hiding behind a stolen sport utility vehicle that Asam and his partner, officer Keith Vallaro, had approached on the road that runs parallel to the Shea Stadium parking lot. When the bullet was stopped by Asam's vest, inches from his unprotected abdomen, the 16-year NYPD veteran returned fire, killing Richard Hatch, 19, of West Babylon.

    "Because he had a vest on he's going to make a full and complete recovery," said Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who added that Asam is the 79th NYPD officer since 1978 who was saved from serious injury or death by a bulletproof vest.

    It was the second time in about 19 hours that city police officers fatally shot a suspect. On Monday at 9:10 p.m., a slaying suspect was shot and killed after he first tried to pull a gun then drove off, dragging one officer alongside his car in East New York, Brooklyn.

    Yesterday's fatal shooting was set off when Asam and his partner, who were in plain clothes, ran the plates of a 1998 black Mercury Mountaineer and a Nissan Quest and both vehicles came back as having been reported stolen from Suffolk County, police said.

    The sergeant, working for the Queens Task Force, a unit specializing in robbery and burglary, followed the Mercury onto 126th Street, alongside Shea Stadium.

    When Asam and Vallaro approached the vehicle, some of the four men inside it ran. Vallero apprehended two of the men inside the vehicle. But another man dove behind the SUV. Asam ordered the man to come out from behind the vehicle. The man came out but had his hands in his pockets. When Asam ordered the man to show his hands, the man pulled out a .25-caliber Larson handgun and fired, hitting Asam, police said.

    Nomie Khalid, 21, an auxilary police officer at the 112th Precinct, said he heard three shots as he drove by. He said the officer reeled back but did not fall, and Khalid assumed he had been shot.

    Police said that after Asam was struck, he returned fire, killing the suspect. Police last night could not say how many shots were exchanged.

    "My reaction was like, 'Oh, my God ... what the hell is going on? There's enough going on in the city,'" Khalid said.

    Asam, who has been awarded 20 medals by the Police Department, was taken to the New York Hospital Medical Center of Queens, where he was admitted. He was in stable condition last night.

    "When you look at it again," Giuliani said, holding up Asam's vest, which still held the bullet that was fired at him, "you realize what a close call it was."

    Arrested at the scene yesterday were Gregory Mack, 15, of Bay Shore, John Rogers, 21, of Deer Park and Edwin Davila, 26, of West Babylon. All were charged with attempted murder and grand larceny auto, police said.
    Be Safe Wear Your Vest

  • #2
    A poignant, and powerful reminder!

    I do hope that all our members who are Officers do wear their vests on duty. For your safety, and for sake of those who love you.
    [email protected] "Where there is love, there is no imposition"- Albert Einstien.

    Comment


    • #3
      [QUOTE]Originally posted by TRUEBLUE:
      [QB]Officer Shot But Spared By Vest
      Tell your brother officer for me to get well quick and congratulations on the arrests.

      On top of all the WTC 9-11 problems, now this - Thank God I live in Pinky!
      #32936 - Royal Canadian Mounted Police - 1975-10-27 / 2010-12-29
      Proud Dad of #54266 - RCMP - 2007-02-12 to date
      RCMP Veterans Association - Regina Division member
      Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada - Associate (Retired) member
      "Smile" - no!

      Comment

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