Suspect indicted in shooting of NYPD cop from LI

Bullet markers in front of 47 Columbia St.

Bullet markers in front of 47 Columbia St. in lower Manhattan, where two police officers from Long Island were shot at as they approached a suspect. (Feb. 27, 2012) (Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy)

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The gunman whose bullet deflected off the ammunition belt of an NYPD officer from Long Island last month -- preventing a serious wound and perhaps death -- was indicted Thursday on charges of attempted murder and possession of a weapon, the Manhattan district attorney's office said.

Luis Martinez, 35, of Manhattan, pleaded not guilty to first-degree attempted murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon before Judge Michael Obus in State Supreme Court in Manhattan.

Martinez is being held without bail and is scheduled to return to court on May 3.

Martinez exchanged gunfire with two NYPD officers from Long Island -- Thomas Richards and Thomas Dunne -- in a Feb. 27 shootout on the Lower East Side, prosecutors said.

Richards, 36, of Great Neck, narrowly escaped injury or death when one of the 19 bullets fired during the running gun battle bounced off a spare ammunition magazine on his gunbelt, denting the metal, prosecutors said.

Dunne, 30, of Mount Sinai, was not hit in the exchange of bullets, which occurred about 1:40 a.m. on Columbia Street, near the Bernard M. Baruch Houses.

Martinez was struck in the upper right leg, according to police. He later was arrested inside a building on Baruch Drive.

District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance said in a statement that "a metal gun magazine and its leather pouch was all that stood in the way of a bullet piercing an officer's abdomen, after he was fired upon by this defendant. Thankfully, the officer was not seriously injured."

A police spokesman said after the shooting that Martinez fired three shots, one of which glanced off Richards' gunbelt. Richards returned fire five times, striking Martinez in the upper right leg, investigators said. Dunne, who was in the first shooting of his seven-year NYPD career, fired 11 times.

Dunne said he and his partner were "very lucky. The odds of that [bullet] hitting right there where it did was slim to none."

The shooting was the fourth involving an NYPD officer from Long Island in a little more than two months.

Officer Peter J. Figoski, 47, of West Babylon, was shot and killed Dec. 12 by a fleeing suspect at the scene of a Brooklyn robbery.

Since then, two other officers -- Kevin Herlihy, 47, of Lynbrook, and Kevin Brennan, 29, of Garden City Park -- have been shot by suspects and survived.

Brennan was shot in the base of the skull; Herlihy was hit in his arm.

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