Cops: Officer stabbed by disturbed man

An Nassau police officer was injured in a confrontation with an emotionally disturbed man in a Hempstead home. Videojournalist: Jim Staubitser (March 25, 2012)

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An emergency services police officer suffered a stab wound to his stomach and arm in a Hempstead home Sunday during a confrontation with an emotionally disturbed man, Nassau police said. The injury was not considered life-threatening, police said.

The man was identified by police as Christopher Sargeant, 32. He is a former correction officer in New York City who was terminated March 12 for a medical disability, according to city correction department spokeswoman Sharman Stein.

First Precinct officers received a complaint just after 2 p.m. about a mentally disturbed person armed with a knife who was throwing rocks at cars in Hempstead Village at Long Beach Road and Emery Street, Deputy Insp. Kenneth Lack, a Nassau police spokesman, said at a news conference at Nassau University Medical Center Sunday.

Police interviewed the complainant near the house where the confrontation later took place, Lack said.

"Coincidentally, at the same time, the subject drives by," Lack said. "The officers follow that vehicle," to a home on Emery Street. In front of the house, Sargeant parked, then got out, still with the knife in his hand, Lack said.

"The officers order the subject to drop the knife at gunpoint," Lack said.

Sargeant went inside the home, where he was living, soon followed by emergency services officers who arrived at the scene.

Police encountered a woman who told them Sargeant had been experiencing emotional problems, Lack said.

Sargeant's father was in the home and police asked him to go outside. Emergency services officers tried to take Sargeant into custody and during a struggle, the officer was stabbed, Lack said.

"Our officer didn't realize he was stabbed," Lack said. "He told the other officers at the scene, 'I think I'm injured.' "

The officer, who is in stable condition, could be released as early as Monday and police said no major organs appeared to be injured.

Lack said the officer, who was not identified by police, is 54 years old and a 13-year veteran of the force with five years in ESU.

"He's alert and conscious. He's in good spirits." said Lack, who added that the officer was slashed in the stomach and across the left arm with a 5-inch folding knife. "We do not believe it punctured any vital organs."

Lack said Sargeant is "in the mental aided area of the hospital."

Kenneth Sargeant, who said he was Christopher Sargeant's brother, was reached Sunday but declined to comment.

Stein said Christopher Sargeant had served as a correction officer from June 2006 to March 12 and worked at the Anna M. Kross Center of Rikers Island in Queens.

Sargeant had been out for a year on sick leave and was terminated because he could no longer serve as a correction officer, she said.

Jean Chase, a neighbor who said she is a family friend, said police took Christopher Sargeant out of the house on a stretcher. "They had him handcuffed and he was bleeding," she said.

She said she gave Christopher Sargeant one of his first jobs as a youth -- as a cashier at a local Burger King. "He was a nice kid. He still is a nice kid," she said. "He goes to church."

Neighbors said Sargeant served in the U.S. Marine Corps. Public records show that in 2001 he lived at the Marine base in Camp Pendleton in San Diego.

With Emily C. Dooley

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