06/16/2005

N.J. officer just weeks away from retirement praised after shooting

By WAYNE PARRY
Associated Press Writer

JERSEY CITY, N.J.- A 64-year-old police officer just two weeks away from retirement will be promoted to detective after throwing himself in front of a woman and her two young children when a gunman opened fire inside a precinct house.

Michael Gullace, who has spent 38 years on the job, was working a desk shift Wednesday night when he heard gunfire.

Gullace grabbed the gunman's girlfriend and their two young children and threw his body over them. When a detective returning fire at the suspect ran out of bullets, Gullace tossed him his own weapon, enabling the officer to keep firing.

"I thought I was going to go out quietly," Gullace said at a news conference Thursday. "You never know."

The gunman, Corey Harley, 27, who was about to be arrested for domestic violence when he opened fire, was shot numerous times. He was in fair condition Thursday and had not been formally charged.

Two officers were also shot. One was released from the hospital and the other was in good condition. The woman and children were unharmed.

Gullace's promotion to detective will sweeten his pension. In his nearly four decades on the job, he has never had to draw his weapon.

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