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NYPD Officer Thomas Richards Saved After Bullet Strikes Gunbelt

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Officers Thomas Richards and Thomas Dunne (credit: DCPI)

Officers Thomas Richards and Thomas Dunne (credit: DCPI)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A police officer is lucky to be alive Monday after a running gun battle in lower Manhattan.

It all went down at about 1:44 a.m., police say.

That’s when officers Thomas Richards and Thomas Dunne stepped out of their police van to confront Luis Martinez at 47 Columbia Street.

Police spokesman Paul Browne says Martinez, 25, muttered something and then opened fire at the officers.

1010 WINS’ Terry Sheridan reports

One of the bullets hit a spare clip on Richards’ gunbelt.

clipstruckbybullet NYPD Officer Thomas Richards Saved After Bullet Strikes Gunbelt

This is the magazine that saved officer Thomas Richards' life on Feb. 27, 2012. (credit: NYPD)

“We’re lucky again,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said. “If it had been up an inch it would’ve been right into the officer’s body.”

Richards returned fire, and then officers chased Martinez as he ran down Rivington Street. The chase lasted several blocks until, at Baruch Drive, police say Martinez stopped and again fired away at the two cops.

WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb With Ray Kelly

Police returned fire, Browne said, hitting Martinez in the right leg. Martinez ran to his apartment on Baruch Drive, where he was arrested by Emergency Services Unit officers. Police were able to follow the blood trail to his apartment.

Police say they found the gun Martinez used in the trash compactor. Martinez was taken to Bellevue Hospital where he is in stable condition.

9mm taurus NYPD Officer Thomas Richards Saved After Bullet Strikes Gunbelt

Police say this is the weapon used to shoot the bullet that hit Officer Thomas Richards in his gunbelt on Feb. 27, 2012. (credit: NYPD)

Officers Richards and Dunne were examined at Beth Israel Hospital and released.

It’s the fourth shooting of an NYPD officer in two months.

What do you make of the recent string of police officers being shot? Sound off in our comments section below. 

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