‘Body armor saved him’: Officer hit by gunfire leaves hospital

Posted: September 13, 2012

A Philadelphia police officer accidentally shot by his partner during a car stop left the hospital Wednesday, authorities said, exhausted and sore, but with no serious injuries.

SWAT officer Jose Roman was wearing his bulletproof vest when he was hit in the side by a shotgun blast from his partner that ricocheted off either the ground or a car.

Roman's partner fired on a suspect Tuesday night in North Philadelphia, police said, after the two stopped a car with three men inside. Police said Roman's partner, who has not been identified, fired when one of the men brandished a gun.

"The body armor saved him," Deputy Police Commissioner Richard Ross said. "He's very lucky."

One suspect was hit by the shotgun fire and was taken to Temple University Hospital in critical condition, but is expected to survive, Ross said. Police recovered two guns, and the other two men have been taken into custody, but they had not been charged as of Wednesday night.

Ross said he expected charges to be filed soon against at least two of the three in custody.

"This was a volatile situation," Ross said, "and it could have turned out much worse."

Police said Roman, a 19-year veteran, was on patrol with his partner Tuesday night when a woman flagged them down and said one of three men in a white Chevrolet Impala had pointed a gun at her. When officers spotted the car at a gas station at Broad and Parrish Streets, two men were outside the car, one inside, police said.

When officers ordered the men to raise their hands, the man in the car grabbed at his waistband, police said. The officers saw a weapon, Ross said, and Roman's partner fired. Roman recovered from the hit quickly enough to handcuff one of the men.

A police source identified the allegedly armed suspects as Ronald Gordon, 21, and Gene Autry, 20.

Gordon was arrested in 2009 for sticking up a man and taking his phone and about $100 in cash. Gordon pleaded guilty to robbery and was sentenced to 14 to 28 months in prison.

Autry was arrested at age 17 on charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault, conspiracy, and gun violations after he was accused of shooting a man on North Ninth Street. The victim failed to appear in court to testify, and the attempted-murder charges were withdrawn.

In June 2011, Autry was arrested again on charges of aggravated assault for allegedly shooting at a male relative. Again, records show, the victim failed to testify. Autry agreed to plead guilty to simple assault and gun possession in exchange for three years of probation.


Contact Allison Steele

at 215-854-2641 or asteele@phillynews.com.

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