NYPD cop Thomas Dunne says “divine intervention” saved his partner’s life. Thomas Richards managed to escape uninjured after his gun belt saved him from a potentially fatal shot.

The incident took place on Columbia Street, on the Lower East Side, Manhattan. The housing cops took chase after a suspect pot dealer Luis Martinez.

The suspect opened fire. Dunne told the New York Post “We were only a couple feet away. I don’t know how he didn’t hit me from that range”.

He continued “A few inches and it could have been a lot worse…We’re very fortunate that we came out of it basically unscathed.”

Richards (36) was saved when a round hit the extra clip in his pocket. Two other close range shots also missed them both.

Dunne said “Once the gunfire starts, you kind of just react.” He drew his gun and fired, for the first time in years. Martinez was shot in the leg.

“We both kept saying to each other how lucky we were…One of the first things he said to me was, ‘I can’t believe you didn’t get shot,’” said Dunne.

Martinez has been charged with attempted murder, weapons possession and reckless endangerment. He has nine prior arrests, including assault with weapons possession.

After the dramatic incident, Dunne said, he and Richards just wanted to go home. They spoke to the Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly by phone from the station.

When all the loose ends were tied up, Dunne said “We walked out to the garage, shook hands, patted each other on the back and went home…It was the end of a long day.”

During an interview with Rep Peter King on the John Gambling program, on WOR 710 Police Commissioner Ray Kelly called it “another miracle”.

He said “An inch either way, and it would have hit his stomach.”

In the space of less than two months two other Irish American NYPD officers have been shot and injured in the line of duty. On the 31st January Kevin Brennan was shot at point-blank range in Brooklyn. He miraculously recovered and was discharged from hospital just 10 days after the crime.

Then on Valentine’s Day Detective Kevin Herlihy was also shot in the arm. He was released from hospital the next day.

Officers Thomas Richards and Thomas DunneNYPD