Cop escapes possible shooting

Residents in a humble Port Richmond witnessed a rare scene on their block yesterday when a confrontation between two cops and two suspects, left one bad guy with a bullet in his stomach and a cop banged up.

Two 24th District cops responding to a call of an armed man, encountered two men in a red Pontiac van parked near Clearfield and Memphis streets, police said. When the cops, from the 24th District, with headquarters at Whitaker Avenue near

Erie, approached the vehicle, the suspects drove off and crashed into a tree a short distance away. Moments later, the passenger, identified by police as Israel Perez, tried to flee, but the responding officer caught up to him, and the two struggled over the officer’s gun, said spokesman Lt. Frank Vanore. During the struggle, rounds in gun’s magazine fell to the ground, but as the suspect tried to grab the weapon, a bullet in the chamber discharged, striking Perez him in the abdomen, said Vanore. The suspect was listed in stable condition at



Hospital . The officer wasn’t injured. Meanwhile, the other officer was chasing the driver of the van, identified as Ronald Williams, whom he caught soon after. Williams was treated for a minor head injury that police say he incurred during the pursuit, and was released into police custody. The officer who had chased him was treated for a knee injury.

Police later found what they said was a large quantity of cocaine on top of a nearby garage roof onto which the suspects had thrown during the chase. The suspects were charged with aggravated assault, drug possession and related offenses, said police, who did not disclose their ages or addresses. Perez had two outstanding warrants for prior drug-related offenses. Vanore credited the quick thinking of the officer who held on to his gun — who is on administrative duty pending an Internal Affairs investigation — with averting a potentially tragic outcome. “His training kicked in,” he said. “He was able to keep [the weapon].”