The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) has named Officer Paul Lee and Officer Antonio Martinez of the New York City Police Department as the Officers of the Month for January 2023. Both men were selected for their bravery and heroism following Officer Lee being shot while attempting to stop two suspicious persons.
Early on the morning of Jan. 17, 2023, Officers Lee and Martinez, members of the 48th Precinct’s Public Safety Team, were on routine patrol. The unit to which they were assigned focuses on deterring and apprehending violent criminals in high crime areas. As they were patrolling near East 183rd Street, they noticed two suspicious persons walking with ski masks covering their faces. The officers drove toward the two suspects intending to stop them when one of the suspects reportedly turned without warning and opened fire. The suspect fired multiple times, striking the patrol car and hitting Officer Lee in his shoulder, police say. Both suspects then ran away.
Despite his wound, Officer Lee began to chase after the suspects. But Martinez recognized the life-threatening potential of Lee’s injuries, stopped the pursuit, and then rushed his partner to a nearby hospital. Additional patrol units in the area were able to find and arrest one of the two suspects, an armed 16-year-old boy. Investigators continue to work to identify the remaining suspect. Because of Officer Martinez’s quick thinking and assistance and other factors, Officer Lee is expected to make a full recovery.
“The incredible heroism displayed by both officers showcases the bravery and professionalism of those in law enforcement and allows a glimpse of how quickly our police officers must react when confronted with armed and violent criminals,” said Marcia Ferranto, CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. “We are proud to honor Officer Lee and Officer Martinez as our Officers of the Month for January 2023.”
The Officer of the Month Award Program is sponsored by the Police Unity Tour and recognizes federal, state, and local officers who distinguish themselves through exemplary law enforcement service and devotion to duty.