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Bulletproof vest saves officer's life

April 1, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Glendale police officer is lucky to be alive after he was shot in the chest by a suspect during a shootout. Authorities say the officer's bulletproof vest saved his life.The crime scene stretches across several city blocks, from where police tried to stop the suspect, to where he was killed in a hail of gunfire. But only after authorities said he nearly killed a Glendale police officer.

The suspect was identified as 28-year-old David Gonzalez of Los Angeles.

The gunbattle unfolded during a foot chase around 9:30 p.m. Monday near Chevy Chase Drive and Colorado Boulevard. Glendale police said one of their officers tried to stop Gonzalez to question him, but he took off on foot and, according to authorities, started shooting at police.

Authorities are still trying to figure out why Gonzalez allegedly started shooting at officers when they tried to question him.

"One of our officers took a round to his chest," said Sgt. Tom Lorenz of the Glendale Police Department. "From what I understand, that officer is going to survive, he will recover fine. He was wearing body armor."

Police showed off the bulletproof vest that saved the officer's life. A single shot hit him in the chest, and the vest stopped it from entering his body.

"This is a prime example to every law enforcement officer in the nation that you need to put the vest on," said Officer John Ballian of the Glendale Police Department. "It is cumbersome, it's, you know, it's a pain at times. But this is a perfect example where you never know when you might need it, and luckily he had his vest on."

A shot up police squad car shows just how violent the shootout must have been, and it happened in what residents said is normally a quiet neighborhood.

Dozens of shots were fired between police and the suspect, but other than the officer, no civilians were caught in the crossfire, authorities said.

"At first I thought it was gunshots, cuz I heard the pop, pop, pop, but then I heard pp-pp-pp-pp-pp, and I thought maybe firecrackers," said Evelyn Marrero, a Glendale resident. "Then there was a lull, and then again. So, I figured no, not firecrackers. But it's a scary feeling."

Residents shook their heads, wondering how something like this could happen in their neighborhood.

 

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