A bulletproof vest saved the life of a young Bronx cop shot three times by a man who snapped after his mother's home health aide spurned his romantic advances.
Officer Robert Salerno, 25, was in critical but stable condition Monday night after surgery for two gunshot wounds to his lower abdomen.
A third .38-caliber bullet lodged in the vest protecting his chest and would have been fatal if he wasn't wearing the body armor, police said.
"Officer Salerno, a brave young man, is very lucky. It could have been much worse," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.
Salerno—the first cop shot in the line of duty this year—returned fire 16 times, emptying his magazine. Three cops with him fired a total of five rounds in the deadly 12:30 p.m. confrontation.
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