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A Baltimore Police Officer may have been saved by not just his bulletproof vest, but his body camera as well.
Three rounds struck officer Phillip Lippe, a three-year member of the department, during a shootout with a suspect on Sept. 23. One round grazed Lippe’s elbow, according to police. However, his body camera and vest stopped the other two rounds from hitting his chest.
Baltimore Police Officer Saved
Lippe and his partner, Steven Foster, identified 29-year-old suspect Nathaniel Sassafras during a “crime suppression initiative,” according to Interim Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle.
The officers pursued Sassafras, who was on foot, in their car. They trailed him into an alleyway around several housing units, police said. At some point during the pursuit, the officers spotted a gun on Sassafras.
Upon entering the alleyway, officers find Sassafras lying on the ground. Police said they were unsure if he had fallen or was playing possum.
Lippe moved toward Sassafras and ordered him to drop the gun; that’s when Sassafras opened fire, striking Lippe multiple times.
Officers Lippe and Foster returned fire, striking and killing Sassafras.
After shooting the suspect, Foster calls for a medic and moves to Lippe to check his injuries. Foster asks Lippe if he’s OK, to which Lippe responds, “I’m good, fam. … I’m solid. I’m good, I’m good.”
Lippe was transported to an area hospital, police said. The hospital released Lippe shortly after.
Tuggle said Sassafras was released from prison for murder back in January. According to multiple reports, Sassafras served 14 years of a 20-year sentence.