It was a special NYPD honor — one year in the making.
Three members of an elite anti-crime team were named the 63rd Precinct’s Cops of the Year on March 23 during a special “Medal Day” ceremony in Bergen Beach — almost a year after the harrowing incident that led to their nomination took place.
Police Officers Tara Hayes, Sean Kelleher and Darryl Fontaine were given the lofty honor for showing extreme courage when they were attacked by an unhinged gunman in Sunset Park on April 1, 2010.
At the time the three officers, members of a plain clothes anti-crime unit, were in Sunset Park looking for a thief who was robbing elderly women.
When they approached a man fitting the description of the culprit, the suspect pulled a revolver out of his waistband and charged their unmarked car.
“Most suspects run from the police, but this guy didn’t,” explained Capt. Michael Deddo, the commanding officer of the 63rd Precinct. “Instead, he aims his revolver at Officer Kelleher’s head.”
After hearing a click, Kelleher grabbed the gun, using his fingers to keep the cocked hammer from discharging.
With the two embroiled in a heated death match, Officer Hayes, who was sitting in the passenger side, jumps out of the car, pulls her pistol and fires, killing the suspect.
“Not only was this a great example of teamwork, but it also involved a great deal of training and skill,” Deddo said. “A lot of people might have thought to hit the accelerator and race away, but the gunman could have fired into the vehicle. These three officers managed to keep their calm and save each other from almost certain harm.”
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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