New York PO, mortally wounded, pursues suspect


By TOM HAYS
Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK- A police officer who was shot in the heart during a car chase ignored the wound and helped try to catch the gunman before dying later at a hospital, authorities said.

Dillon Stewart, 35, died Monday despite wearing a bulletproof vest. One round entered his left armpit, missing the protective plating "by no more than a quarter of an inch (0.64 centimeters)," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.

Stewart, who was married with two children, "showed remarkable tenacity and courage in pursuing his assailant," Kelly said.

The suspect, Allan Cameron, 27, also was picked out of a lineup Monday in connection with the robbery and shooting of officer Wiener Philippe on Nov. 19, police Sgt. Mary Christine Doherty said Monday.

Philippe was returning to his home at about 6 a.m. when a gunman hopped out of a car and demanded his wallet, watch and jewelry, police said.

Cameron was being processed early Tuesday, and information was not immediately available on whether he had a lawyer. Police said he would face charges of first-degree and second-degree murder, attempted murder, robbery, assault, criminal possession of a weapon and traffic violations.

A handgun believed to be the homicide weapon was found outside an apartment building where Cameron was captured after a massive manhunt, police said.

Investigators began to suspect that the man they had in custody was connected to the shooting of Philippe after realizing that Cameron's car matched the description of one spotted at that scene, said police spokesman Paul Browne.

The investigators had been searching for an explanation as to why the shooter had been so desperate to avoid being pulled over, Browne said.

Authorities said the suspected shooter, who surrendered peacefully, was given three years of probation in 2003 after pleading guilty to various traffic violations.

The chase began when Stewart and his partner spotted a car with stolen New Jersey license plates speeding through a red light, police said. Stewart made a U-turn and pursued the car with lights and sirens on.

At one point, the police car pulled alongside the other vehicle on its passenger side. That's when the driver leaned over and began shooting, police said.

With Stewart still in pursuit, the suspect sped to a basement garage about two blocks away before disappearing. Stewart left his car, realized he had been shot but remained conscious as other officers rushed him to the hospital, the commissioner said.

Following surgery, Stewart's heart stopped beating.

He was the first officer killed in the city in the line of duty this year, police said.

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Associated Press Writer Pat Milton contributed to this story.

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