NEW YORK, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- Officials say a spare ammunition magazine that a New York City police officer was carrying may have saved his life when he was shot by a gunman early Monday.
The shootout began when NYPD officer Thomas Richards and his partner, Thomas Dunne, stopped Luis Martinez at about 1:44 a.m., The New York Times reported.
Police said Martinez was "acting suspiciously" and muttered something the officers didn't understand before firing a gun at Richards.
One shot struck Richards' gun belt, but was deflected by a spare ammunition magazine that he was carrying, police said, adding that Richards was not injured.
"It was a very close call for Officer Richards," said Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly. "The magazine may have well saved his life."
Martinez fled the scene on foot, firing at the officers two more times. The officers fired back at him, shooting him in the leg
The officers caught up with Martinez at his apartment and arrested him. He was taken to Bellevue hospital, where he is in stable condition.
The incident was the fourth time a New York City police officer has been shot at within the past two months, the New York Daily News reported.
One officer, Peter Figoski, was killed.