A PhiladelphiapPolice officer is hospitalized and a suspect is in extremely critical condition after they were both shot at a gas station at Broad and Parrish in North Philadelphia last night.
Police said that two officers, including Officer Jose Roman, 44, a 19-year veteran who works in the SWAT Unit, were on routine patrol last night when, shortly before 10 p.m., a woman flagged them down and said that passengers of a white Chevrolet Impala had pointed a gun at her.
The officers "within minutes," according to Deputy Commissioner Richard Ross, located the suspects' car in the gas station lot. "There were three males in and around that vehicle," Ross told reporters last night. "In an attempt to gain control over these males, [the officers] ordered them to show their hands. At some point and time, one of the males actually produced a handgun, pointed it at the officers and Officer Roman's partner discharged his shotgun. And, unfortunately, we believe it was a ricochet that struck Officer Roman in his ballistic vest."
He said that Roman was hit in the lower back, but his vest prevented the shot from seriously injuring him. "It definitely knocked the wind out of him, but despite that, he regained his composure and handcuffed one of the suspects," he said.
One of the three men, believed to be 21, was also struck. He is in extremely critical condition at Temple University Hospital. Roman was in stable condition last night at Hahnemann Hospital, surrounded by his family and hundreds of colleagues. The car's two other occupants are in police custody. Investigators reportedly recovered two guns from the scene.
Ross said that the officer who discharged his weapon acted as he should have and that it was fortunate Officer Roman was wearing a bulletproof vest. "We're very, very lucky considering the circumstances," he said. "Again, it's important to highlight the fact that they recovered two weapons and, obviously, one of these guys was not afraid to use it."