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Nicholas Guerrero, Suffolk police officer, critical after hit by fleeing car

A Suffolk County police officer is transported into

A Suffolk County police officer is transported into a medivac helicopter on Pulaski Road and Park Avenue in Huntington on Monday afternoon, Sept. 22, 2014. Credit: James Carbone

A Suffolk County police officer who was run down by a fleeing car he had pulled over in Huntington to make an arrest suffered a "very serious head injury" Monday, police said.

The officer, Nicholas Guerrero, 36, was in critical condition Monday night at Stony Brook University Hospital, and Heriberto Lugo, his partner, was treated for injuries that were not life-threatening, police said.

"He's in our prayers," Det. Lt. Edward Reilly, commanding officer of the Special Investigations Unit of the Suffolk County Police Department, said of Guerrero at a news conference at the Partridge Lane scene. "He's very seriously injured."

Two people, whose identities were not released, were in custody after a countywide manhunt that led to an arrest at a Target store in Central Islip, according to Reilly. Police have not released the charges.

He said the two officers from the Second Precinct Crime Section -- in plainclothes, but wearing police vests and displaying their police shields -- pulled the car over about 1:30 p.m. on Partridge Lane to execute an arrest warrant.

"The suspect fled in his car at a very high rate of speed, striking both officers," Reilly said.

A short time later, the fleeing vehicle hit another vehicle in the Huntington area, before continuing on to Commack, where the suspects hijacked a woman's car on Dovecote Lane, according to a release issued Monday night.

"Descriptions went out over the radio . . . As a result of the extensive manhunt for these suspects they were located over in Central Islip in the Target store," Reilly said earlier Monday.

Guerrero, who police said has been with the department four years, was airlifted from a nearby park to Stony Brook University Hospital and was being monitored in the hospital's Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit.

Police Commissioner Edward Webber in a statement late Monday night called Guerrero "a very hardworking member" of the department. He said Guerrero joined the department in 2010 and was assigned to the Second Precinct Crime Section because of his "excellent interviewing skills, investigative abilities and strong ability to interact with the public.

"He is a true professional," Webber said. "Our thoughts are with him and his family and we pray for his full recovery."

Lugo was also transported to Stony Brook University Hospital, where he was treated and released, police said. The vehicular crime unit is also investigating, and police are asking any witnesses at the different scenes to call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.

Sarah Werbitsky, who lives on Partridge just east of where the officers were hit, said she and her daughter came out of the house and "saw a man in the middle of the street," at first thinking it could be a neighbor. "It ended up it was a police officer who was down in the middle of the road" with "about 15 people working on him," she said.

The man "was in a lot of pain," Werbitsky said. "You could hear him vocally, and he was awake at that time." With Patricia Kitchen

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