01/07/2013 12:53 pm ET Updated Jan 07, 2013

Juan Pichardo, Off-Duty NYPD Officer, Breaks Wrist Constraints And Takes Bullet Thwarting Robbery

When a gunman and an accomplice entered Juan Pichardo's family-owned Bronx car dealership on Thursday night, the off-duty NYPD officer took action.

After being ordered to the ground and his wrists bound, the 37-year-old police officer broke free and got shot in the thigh while tackling the gunman, the Daily News reports.

“That guy could have killed one of us,” Jason Marengo, a manager at the business told the News. “The guy said, ‘This is not a joke, this is a stick up.’ He had a gun to my face.”

The two robbers had feigned interest in buying a 2001 Nissan Maxima when Jeffrey Okine pulled out a handgun and told Pichardo and an employee to hit the floor, the AP reports.

“He said he was going to kill Juan if he didn’t give him the number for the safe,” Marengo told the Daily News. “That’s when Juan grabbed the opportunity.”

Pichardo wrestled Okine to the ground both disarming the assailant and getting shot in the process, the AP reports. The nine-year veteran officer was not carrying his service revolver at the time of the attack, according to the Daily News.

“I thought it was a car-tire burst. It sounded so loud,” Alicia Edwards, 18, told the New York Post describing the volume of the .380-caliber gunshot.

Marengo chased the accomplice out of the building -- he fled in a getaway car and was later arrested, according to the news outlet.

Pichardo, a married father of three, was one of three police officers who were shot in a one-hour span in New York City on Thursday night, the New York Post reports.

Soon after Pichardo was injured, two plainclothes police officers Michael Levay, 27, and Lukasz Kozicki, 32, were shot in a Brooklyn subway station after stopping a man they saw walking between subway cars on the N-train, according to the news outlet.

Levay and Kozicki were released from the hospital on Friday, according to the New York Daily News. A day later Pichardo left the Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx after recovering from his injuries, according to the news outlet.

For New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the incidents show the need for stronger gun control, he said in a statement.

“Tonight, thank God, three good guys -- three New York City police officers, who acted heroically -- are going to make it,” Bloomberg said in a statement reported by the Los Angeles Times. “But we owe it to the good guys to do whatever we can to protect them, just as they do whatever they can to protect us. Instead, Washington is letting the bad guys shoot our police officers, our children, our neighbors -- and it just has to stop.”



The Most Heartwarming Moments Of 2012