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Suspect in Colorado shooting of LI native charged with attempted murder, sheriff's office says

Colorado Springs Police Officer Cem Duzel, who grew

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

Colorado police officer Cem Duzel, a Manorville native who was shot in the head during a confrontation with an armed suspect, remained in critical condition Friday while the alleged gunman, an ex-convict out on parole, was charged with attempted murder.

Karrar Noaman Al Khammasi, 31, was charged Friday with attempted first-degree murder, possession of a weapon by a previous offender and felony menacing, according to the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, which is leading the investigation.

Al Khammasi, who remains hospitalized with injuries not considered to be life-threatening, did not appear in court Friday and was held without bond.

The Colorado Gazette said Al Khammasi has convictions for driving while intoxicated and trespassing in 2013 and misdemeanor assault in 2017.

Duzel, 30, a five-year veteran of the Colorado Springs Police Department, was "gravely wounded" early Thursday when responding to a report of shots fired east of the Olympic Training Center.

A 2005 graduate of Westhampton Beach High School, Duzel remained Friday in critical condition at UCHealth Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs, with some movement on both sides of his body, according to department officials.

Duzel's parents arrived in Colorado from Long Island on Thursday afternoon, officials said.

The shooting appeared to stem from a confrontation reported by an Uber driver early Thursday. 

According to the ride-hailing service, a female driver picked up a rider in the area before the shooting but ended the trip because of the passenger's behavior.

The male passenger, who was not identified by Uber, then got out of the vehicle and the driver heard gunshots and called 911, the company said. The driver was not injured and Uber declined to say whether the passenger in question was Al Khammasi.

"Our thoughts are with Officer Duzel, his family, and the Colorado Springs Police Department," said Dave Britton, general manager of Uber Colorado. "We stand ready to support the investigation and CSPD during this difficult time." 

Colorado Springs Police Chief Pete Carey said Duzel, who works out of the department's Sand Creek Division, was among a group of officers who responded at 2:45 a.m. to a report of shots fired near Boulder Street and Union Boulevard.

Carey said police arriving on the scene encountered Al Khammasi in the street and he pulled out a handgun and began firing at officers. There was an exchange of gunfire and Duzel was struck, officials said.

"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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