Cop shot in Willets Point kills teen gunman: Kerick

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Police Sgt. John Asam of Queens North Anti-Crime Unit was shot in the chest near the Shea Stadium parking lot shortly after 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in a shoot-out that left a 19-year-old West Babylon man dead.

Asam, 37, was rushed to New York Hospital Medical Center of Queens in Flushing, where he was listed in stable condition after the slug was caught in his bullet-proof vest.

Police said Richard Hatcher shot Asam, a 16-year veteran decorated with more than 20 medals, who returned the fire and killed the 19-year-old from West Babylon, L.I.

The shoot-out occurred after Asam and his partner were investigating two stolen vehicles outside the Willets Point junkyards and attempted to arrest six suspects.

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Queens District Attorney Richard Brown visited Asam at NYHQ two hours after the shooting. Asam spoke with them and with members of his family.

The sergeant was expected to make a full recovery, the mayor said.

Asam, whose unit specializes in robbery and burglary, and Officer John Vallaro were near Shea Stadium when they decided to check out the plates of a black 1998 Mercury Mountaineer and a Nissan Quest, Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik said. The cars turned out to be stolen.

The two officers followed the vehicles to 126th Street and 35th Avenue and stopped them, said Kerik. Two of the six occupants were immediately arrested, and three fled the scene. The remaining man, Hatcher, hid behind the SUV, pulled out a .25-caliber automatic handgun and shot Asam, the commissioner said.

As of Tuesday evening, police were still looking for two others who had fled the scene.

“There were a few minutes there in which we worried a great deal,” Giuliani told a news conference at NYHQ. He showed off the bullet-proof vest that Asam had been wearing. “When you take a look at this, you realize what a close call it was.”

John Rogers, 21, from Deer Park, L.I., Edwin Davila, 26, from West Babylon and a 15-year-old boy from Bayshore were arrested Tuesday evening, police said. All three were charged with attempted murder, authorities said.

Reach Reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at or call 229-0300 Ext. 141.

Posted 7:25 pm, October 10, 2011
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