STONY BROOK, NY (PIX11) — The two officers who were stabbed in Medford on Wednesday are both Army veterans who served in Afghanistan, Suffolk County Police Chief Rodney Harrison said on Thursday.
One of the officers was stabbed in the clavicle, Harrison said. The stab wound went through his clavicle and into his neck. He was also stabbed in the left part of his groin.
The officer has been with the police department for four years. Officials said that he and his wife, who’s 30 weeks pregnant, are expecting their first child. The officer, who was taken to the hospital in critical condition, was sedated and on a ventilator in serious but stable condition on Thursday.
The knife also went through the bulletproof vest of the second officer who was stabbed, Harrison said. It hit a rib and was very close to puncturing the officer’s heart and lung. The officer was also stabbed in the left bicep and left thumb.
“Officers never know what they’re going to face when they get that 911 call,” Harrison said. “By the grace of God, these officers will be going home to their loved ones.”
Both officers and a third had responded to Birchwood Avenue in Medford on Wednesday night after a 911 call from a caseworker, officials said. The facility they went to houses homeless individuals and people suffering from mental health issues. A man there was menacing others with a fire extinguisher, according to officials.
When the officers arrived, the caseworker told them the man, who had not been publicly identified as of Thursday, was acting violently and irrationally. The officers approached the door and asked the man how he was feeling, Harrison said.
The man then pulled out a “Rambo knife” and lunged at the officers, Harrison said. They told him to drop the knife as they retreated for cover. The man was able to stab two of the three officers.
One of the officers unholstered a gun and fired four times, striking the man fatally in the torso. Harrison said, to him, it was a justified shooting.
While police waited for emergency medical services, a sergeant jumped in to help the wounded officers.
“He was able to use his life-saving techniques through his EMT training and stop both officers from potentially bleeding out,” Harrison said. “He was instrumental in stabilizing and securing their injuries until they were transported from the hospital.”
The third officer was treated for tinnitus.
The suspect had one prior arrest for assault on a Suffolk County police officer, officials said. He served two years and was on parole for two years.