A 2007 Town of Brookhaven photo of Adam Willett, who...

A 2007 Town of Brookhaven photo of Adam Willett, who was shot in North Bellport on Thursday, April 8, 2010. Credit: None/

Former U.S. amateur heavyweight boxing champion and 2008 U.S. Olympic Team alternate Adam Willett of North Bellport was shot and critically wounded during a confrontation in a shopping center not far from his home Wednesday night, police said.

The 28-year-old, whose coach once said of him “this kid works miracles,” was shot once in the torso in the parking lot of the Miracle Plaza Shopping Center at 1725 Montauk Hwy. in North Bellport at 7:10 p.m., Suffolk County police said. The suspect fled. Police said the incident may have been a foiled robbery.

Willett was taken to Stony Brook University Medical Center and admitted in critical condition, according to police.

Police said they believe Willett, whose birthday was on Easter Sunday, was in his vehicle at the start of the incident.

Willett, who trained at the Atlantic Veterans Memorial Boxing Club in Shirley, was one of three New Yorkers on the 11-man U.S. boxing team that competed in the 2005 World Amateur championships in Mianyang City, China.

He won his first decision in the tournament, fighting in the 201-pound heavyweight division, then lost to Subacius Vitalijus of Lithuania.

The southpaw counter-puncher then became the U.S. amateur champion in 2006 and fought for the U.S. at the 2007 Pan Am Games. He again was a favorite to win the U.S. championships, but failed a medical exam. He lost badly in the U.S. Olympic trials to Quantis Graves — and ended up as an alternate on the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team in Beijing.

Back in 2005, when his amateur career was still very much on the rise, his coach at the Atlantic club, Mike Murphy, told Newsday: “This kid works miracles, I’m telling you.”

He said Willett had walked into the gym in 2001 looking for a job but Murphy took one look at him and said: “Fuhgedabout da job, go hit dat bag over dere.” Four years later, Willett had several New York Golden Gloves titles and a national championship under his belt — and was trying to become the first Long Island-born boxer to win a world championship. He didn’t, though he managed to carve out a nice amateur career.

Now, four days after his birthday, Willett needs his biggest miracle ever. Police said they are still searching for the shooter — and are asking anyone with information to contact Fifth Squad detectives at 1-631-854-8552 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.

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