By STAN FREEMAN, STAFF
Springfield Republican (Mass.)
SPRINGFIELD - Police officer David M. Askins is well-acquainted with the danger of police work.
The 13-year police veteran was shot in the leg yesterday at 126 Malden St. while trying to arrest a man wanted on a fugitive from justice warrant. Askins, 37, was taken to Baystate Medical Center and is expected to recover.
In 2005, a fleeing drug suspect plowed into Askins' cruiser during police pursuit. Askins was not injured, unlike the time in 2003 when his cruiser was struck by a drunken driver on Worthington Street. He and his partner were treated for head, back, shoulder and neck injuries.
In 1996, while off-duty, Askins was walking his dog on a city street when he saw a man breaking into a house. He wrestled the suspect and arrested him. "I heard a noise outside and I saw two guys struggling," the homeowner said at the time. "He did not have to put himself at risk."
It is unclear how Askins ended up being one of the officers at risk yesterday.
It was just after lunch yesterday and six Springfield officers were recruited to accompany four state troopers and a federal marshal to serve a warrant on Aaron Brevoort, reported to be carrying a firearm and using crack cocaine, for violation of his parole in New York.
Sometimes, available officers are recruited from around the station house or from off their beats to be on such details, said department spokeswoman Jennifer Flagg.
However, around 2:30 p.m. police radios around the city buzzed with the news that shots were being traded and an officer had been hit on Malden Street.
In 1984 officers Angel Gonzalez and Richard Jarvis were shot and wounded while responding to a report of an assault on Sanderson Street. Both men were forced to retire because of their injuries.
Patrol officer Marcia Brown said the mood among officers at police headquarters on Pearl Street, hearing the news, "was one of trepidation. You're always afraid when something like that happens."
Askins, she said, "was a great guy, a very conscientious officer."
His conscientiousness was noted in 1997. Askins and his partner matched a face on a federal wanted poster with that of a man walking on Hancock Street. They arrested the suspect who was carrying a loaded .25-caliber handgun.
In 2002, as part of the department's community policing effort, Askins expressed pride in helping to clean up the streets of Forest Park and East Forest Park.
"Most of the problems up here in 1995 were gang problems, drugs," Askins told a reporter then. "With the help of everybody (in the department), not just community policing, but everybody, we've pretty much cleared the gangs out of here."
During the July evening he gave that interview he also played ball with a youngster at the Longhill Gardens condominiums.
Springfield police officer David M. Askins is rushed into the Baystate Medical Center emergency room yesterday after being shot in the leg at 126 Malden St., in Springfield.
Wounded Mass. policeman praised