NYPD Cop Recounts Being Shot, Saved by Gun Belt

Tuesday, Jan 14, 2014  |  Updated 1:57 PM EDT
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Cop Saved by Gunbelt in Shootout

NBCNewYork/Handout

An NYPD officer's spare ammunition magazine (inset bottom right) deflected a bullet during a shootout with a suspect in Manhattan.

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Cop Saved by Gunbelt in Shootout

An NYPD officer was spared serious injury when his gun belt deflected a suspect's bullet during a running shootout Monday morning on the Lower East Side, police said. John Noel reports.
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An NYPD officer whose belt stopped a bullet from striking him said at his accused shooter's trial Tuesday that the impact felt "like a sledgehammer."

Detective Thomas Richards testified Tuesday at Luis Martinez' attempted murder trial.

Richards said he approached Martinez on a Lower East Side street in February 2012 to ask what he was doing.

The officer said Martinez pulled a gun and fired. The detective says he shot back, and Martinez ran.

Richards said he didn't realize he wasn't wounded until he saw a dent in a spare ammunition magazine hanging on his belt.

Defense lawyer Matthew Myers said Martinez didn't realize the people approaching him were officers, and that they fired first.

Martinez was shot in the buttocks.

Then-Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said at the time that "it was a very close call for Officer Richards.

"The magazine may have well saved his life," he said.

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