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Colorado cop who grew up in Manorville critically wounded in shootout

Colorado Springs Police Officer Cem Duzel, who grew

Colorado Springs Police Officer Cem Duzel, who grew up in Manorville.   Credit: Colorado Springs Police Department

A Colorado police officer who grew up in Manorville and graduated from Westhampton Beach High School was critically injured in a shootout Thursday morning, a family member and law enforcement officials said.

Cem Duzel, 30, a five-year veteran of the Colorado Springs Police Department, was "gravely wounded" about 2:45 a.m. when he was shot by an unidentified suspect, according to the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, which is leading the investigation. Details about Duzel's injuries were not available.

On its Facebook page, Colorado Springs police said that Duzel's condition remains critical and that his parents had arrived mid-afternoon to see him. The suspect was hospitalized with injuries that are not considered life-threatening, Colorado Springs Police Chief Pete Carey said at a news conference.

Erol Duzel, 36, of East Moriches, the officer's brother, said he was "stable at the moment," but declined to comment further about the shooting.

Carey said Duzel, who works out of the department's Sand Creek Division, was among a group of officers who responded to a report of shots fired near Boulder Street and Union Boulevard, east of the Olympic Training Center Thursday. Carey said police arriving on the scene encountered an adult male suspect in the street who pulled out a handgun and began firing at officers. There was an exchange of gunfire and Duzel was struck, officials said.

Duzel lives in a house with two other Colorado Springs police officers, said one of them, Emily McBride. He went to Colorado in the footsteps of a Long Island friend who was hired as a police officer because they are buddies, she said.

Being a police officer was not Duzel's original plan but he ended up almost born to the job, McBride said.

"He loves patrol right now and being out there to fight the crime and being out there to help people," she said. "He is one tough cookie. He sets his mind to something, makes a goal and he goes for it. But he also has a superkind heart."

Those who know Duzel described him as quiet until they got to know him. Then they saw his joking side, which includes pasting photos of his friends' heads on various objects, and his laidback style. For example, Duzel's name is pronounced "gem," but when people call him "Jim" or pronounce it "kem," he stays silent.

"He's just so laidback of a person that he doesn't let it bother him," McBride said.

Police have asked for the public's prayers.

"This has been an extremely difficult year with law enforcement officers being hurt or killed, in particular in our region," Carey said. "Please keep Officer Duzel, his family and the Colorado Springs Police Department in your thoughts and prayers."

In February, an El Paso sheriff's deputy was fatally shot, and several other officers wounded, in a shootout with a suspected car thief. In January an Adams County deputy was slain while investigating an assault north of Denver. And on Dec. 31, a Douglas County deputy was killed and four other officers were wounded by a suspect with mental health issues.

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