NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A New York City police officer says the impact felt “like a sledgehammer” when a bullet slammed into his hip, where his gun belt saved him from serious injury.

Testifying Tuesday at accused shooter Luis Martinez’s attempted-murder trial, Detective Thomas Richards said he approached Martinez on a lower Manhattan street in February 2012 to ask what he was doing before Martinez pulled a gun and fired at him. Richards said he then shot back, and Martinez ran.

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Richards testified that he didn’t realize he was wounded until he saw a dent in a spare ammunition magazine hanging on his belt.

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

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

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.

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According to police at the time of the incident, Richards and his partner, Thomas Dunne, chased Martinez several blocks before Martinez stopped to fire at them a second time. That’s when he was struck by a police bullet, authorities said.

Martinez ran to his apartment on Baruch Drive, where he was arrested. Police were able to follow the blood trail to his home.

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