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Back to Archives | Back to May 2005 Contents 

Survivors' Club

Anna Knight, Club Administrator, and Ron McBride, Chief of Police (Ret.) and Law Enforcement Consultant



Survivors' Logo
he IACP/DuPont Kevlar Survivors’ Club® pays tribute to those deserving officers who have avoided serious or potentially fatal injuries through the use of any kind of body armor. This column is dedicated to sharing their experiences, in hopes of persuading others to wear their armor. If body armor has helped you or a member of your department survive such an accident or assault, please contact Anna Knight, Club Administrator, IACP/DuPont Kevlar Survivors’ Club®, 5401 Jefferson Davis Highway, Richmond, VA 23234; 804-383-3853; 800-441-2746; fax: 804-383-2477; e-mail: Anna.G.Knight-1@ USA.dupont.com

The Survivors’ Club application isalso available on the IACP’s Web site, www.theiacp.org , under Awards/Survivors’ Club.

Vest Stops Bullet Fired at Alaska Officer

Sergeant James A. Geier of the Fairbanks, Alaska, Police Department was working an overtime watch when he saw an airport police vehicle in pursuit. Geier joined the chase, which ended when the suspect’s vehicle became stuck in a snow bank.

The suspect fled on foot. Geier and two airport police officers pursued but lost of sight of the suspect. As Geier rounded a parked vehicle and a pile of shoveled snow, he heard what sounded like branches breaking and then inexplicably lost his footing. Geier then saw muzzle flashes and realized he was under fire. He took cover and returned fire. One of the airport police officers shot and killed the suspect.

Sergeant Geier now knows that he had been knocked off his feet by the impact of a 9mm bullet that hit his holster. Another bullet struck his chest, where it was deflected by the trauma pack insert in his ballistic vest. A fourth bullet entered his right thigh. Geier was hospitalized for one day for treatment of the leg wound but suffered no other injuries.

The suspect had an extensive criminal history that included weapons violations and drug law crimes. The shooter had fired, at a distance of less than 20 feet, between eight and 11 bullets during a firefight that lasted less than 15 seconds.

Canadian Officer Survives Stabbing

Officers John Filippelli and Craig Look of the Vancouver Police Department in British Columbia, Canada, responded to a 911 report of domestic violence. The dispatcher noted that the reporting person sounded intoxicated and would meet the officers at a convenience store.

As the officers pulled to the curb at the convenience store, a male seated on a bus stop bench made gestured as if he were firing an imaginary handgun at the officers. He then rushed at the passenger door of the police car and attempted to assault Officer Look. Look forcibly opened the door of the police vehicle, pushing the suspect back. The suspect then began stabbing and slashing at Look with a sheetrock saw.

Officer Look’s ballistic vest stopped four stab blows, and the trauma plate was hit with such force that the blade of the saw was bent. The officer fended off many blows but suffered wounds to parts of his body not protected by body armor.
Officer Filippelli went to the aid of his partner, and the suspect turned his attack on Filippelli, who shot the suspect once to stop the attack. The suspect was transported to a hospital for care but died from the gunshot wound.

The attack by the 47-year-old suspect, who was not the reporting person of the original complaint, was described as “aggressively goal-driven to cause serious harm to the officer.” Officer Look spent four hours in a hospital being treated for stabs and slash wounds.

Vest Saves Officer in Gunfight

Officer David Christopher Kelly was investigating the sighting of a suspect in a forgery case at a business in Colorado Springs, Colorado. A store employee had recognized a customer as a suspect in an earlier fraud against the store and called the police. Two men had entered with the suspect.

When he saw Kelly, a 24-year-old male suspect yelled, “I’m not going down like this.” He pulled a .40-caliber pistol and fired three rounds at the officer. Kelly returned fire, and the suspect fled from the store.

Outside the store, the suspect ran at Kelly and fired again. A second gunfight erupted in the middle of the street. A .40-caliber bullet passed through Kelly’s left arm and struck his side, where it was stopped by his protective body armor.

Arriving officers were instantly engulfed in a dynamic fight involving as many as three suspects. The shooter commandeered a security guard’s pickup truck and fled with officers in pursuit. The firefight ended when officers killed the suspect.

Officer Kelly was hospitalized for five days for the gunshot wound to his left arm. His physician told him that had it not been for his ballistic vest Kelly likely would have suffered a critical wound. This matter continues as an open investigation.



 

From The Police Chief, vol. 72, no. 5, May 2005. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.








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