The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) today announced Officers Paul Lee and Antonio Martinez of the New York Police Department as the Officers of the Month for January 2023. Both men were selected for their bravery and heroism following Officer Lee being shot while attempting to stop two suspicious persons.
Early on the morning of January 17, Officers Lee and Martinez, members of the 48th Precinct’s Public Safety Team, were on routine patrol. The unit to which they were assigned focuses on deterring and apprehending violent criminals in high-crime areas. As they were patrolling near East 183rd Street, they noticed two suspicious persons walking with dark ski masks covering their faces. The officers drove toward the two suspects, intending to stop them, when one of the suspects turned without warning and opened fire. The gunman fired multiple times, striking the patrol car and hitting Officer Lee in his shoulder. Both the gunman and the other suspect then ran away. Despite being struck, Officer Lee immediately began to chase after the suspects. Recognizing the potentially life-threatening wound to Officer Lee, Officer Martinez stopped their pursuit and then rushed his fellow officer to a nearby hospital. Additional patrol units in the area were able to find and arrest one of the two suspects, an armed 16-year-old boy. Investigators continue to work to identify the remaining suspect.
Thankfully, in part because of Officer Martinez’s quick thinking and assistance, Officer Lee is expected to make a full recovery. This incident highlights how dangerous it is for law enforcement officers as they seek to detect and deter the violent criminals on our streets.
“The incredible heroism displayed by both officers showcases the bravery and professionalism of those in law enforcement and allows a glimpse of how quickly our police officers must react when confronted with armed and violent criminals,” NLEOMF CEO Marcia Ferranto said. “We are proud to honor Officer Lee and Officer Martinez as our Officers of the Month for January 2023.”
The Officer of the Month Award Program is sponsored by the Police Unity Tour and recognizes federal, state and local officers who distinguish themselves through exemplary law enforcement service and devotion to duty.
Established in 1984, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring the fallen, telling the story of American law enforcement, and making it safer for those who serve. The first pillar of this mission, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C., honors the names of all of the 23,229 officers who have died in the line of duty to date throughout U.S. history. Additionally, NLEOMF maintains and publishes comprehensive details on the circumstances surrounding official line-of-duty deaths. The Officer Safety and Wellness pillar uses that data, coupled with best-practice program models, to produce programming directed at solutions to improve survivability and enhance wellness. NLEOMF’s third pillar, the National Law Enforcement Museum (LawEnforcementMuseum.org), is committed to preserving the history of American law enforcement and sharing the experiences of service and sacrifice for generations to come.