01/16/2008

N.Y. off-duty officer who stopped knife attacks cited for bravery

BY KEITH HERBERT
Newsday

NEW YORK — Gregory Chin had just finished a bacon-and-egg breakfast with his girlfriend.

He paid the check at an East Side diner and looked forward to a sunny Saturday in October.

But the tranquillity quickly ended as Chin, an off-duty New York City police officer, stepped onto the sidewalk outside the Gemini Diner on Second Avenue Oct. 6.

There, Chin, who patrols the city subways, encountered Lee Coleman, 38, plunging a knife into the arms, face, neck and abdomen of Susan Baron, 67, as she walked her dog.

Chin, who was awarded a Certificate of Recognition for bravery by Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, stopped Coleman's attack on Baron.

He drew his service weapon and ordered Coleman to drop the knives he used to stab Baron, police said. But Coleman lunged at Chin, who showed his badge and fired one shot, striking Coleman in the stomach, ending his violent string of stabbings, police said.

Before Baron, of the East Side, was stabbed, police said Coleman stormed the kitchen of Texas Smokehouse restaurant, grabbed four long knives and slashed in the head Amarjit Singh of Queens, who ran bleeding from the restaurant.

Both Singh, 56, and Baron survived, as did Coleman. He was charged with attempted murder, assault and weapons offenses.

"Officer Chin not only helped to save the lives of two defenseless people that Saturday morning, he prevented further violence from occurring, at great risk to his own life," Kelly said in a statement.

Officer Gregory Chin is honored for his bravery by Commissioner Ray Kelly.

Copyright 2008 Newsday, Inc.

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