Three bound over in attempted slaying of police officer

Three men were bound over for trial on attempted-murder charges Wednesday in the shooting of Police Officer Kevin Livewell, injured in a July shoot-out on a Kensington street.

Livewell and his partner were on patrol when they crossed paths with Ramon DeJesus, 37; Anel Cuenas, 28; and Richard Martinez, 32, who police said had been traveling in a van filled with assault rifles and handguns.

In preliminary-hearing testimony before Common Pleas Court Judge Jimmie Moore, Livewell described how a possible car stop turned into a gunfight in seconds.

While driving, Livewell and his partner noticed a white van in front of them. The van matched the description of a vehicle that was suspected of having been involved in a shooting that day, and the officers began following, without turning on their lights or sirens.

Within moments, the van pulled over and stopped. When Livewell and his partner got out, Livewell said he saw DeJesus start stepping out of the driver's side, and told him to get back in.

Almost simultaneously, he said, he heard the passenger's side door open, then saw a man crouching near the van with a rifle by his side.

Livewell said he did not have a chance to draw his weapon before the man, whom he later identified as Cuenas, opened fire.

"I heard a sound and a muzzle flash, and I felt a sharp pain in my lower leg," Livewell said. "I realized I had been shot."

Then, he said, "I looked down, and I realized that a good portion of my lower leg was missing."

Livewell, who has recovered after several surgeries, and his partner fired back. Livewell said they saw Cuenas and Martinez run from the van, carrying rifles. They were later apprehended. DeJesus got out of the car but was tackled by Livewell's partner, who arrested him.

Lawyer Lonny Fish, who is representing DeJesus, said DeJesus was not involved in the shooting and complied with police at the scene.

Attorneys for Martinez and Cuenas, meanwhile, have challenged Livewell's identification of their clients.

"Identifying a stranger in a fast situation is extremely difficult, even for a police officer," said Jack McMahon, Cuenas' attorney.


Contact staff writer Allison Steele at 215-854-2641 or asteele@phillynews.com.