By Walt Hunter
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Two Philadelphia police officers are being hailed as heroes. They showed courage under fire – and saved lives.
Officer Matt White and his partner won’t ever forget the sound of the shot that came so close – one of the bullets allegedly fired by suspect Isaac Carmichael – as they chased him near a stretch of South Street jammed with hundreds of late night partiers (see previous story).
“About halfway through the block another gunshot whizzed past me, I ducked for cover,” said officer Matt White.
“It was like a whizzing or a zipping sound,” said White.
“I yelled, ‘police stop,’ but he turned and fired a shot, continued to run,” said Sergeant Dominic Cole.
The officers couldn’t know when Carmichael, wanted for allegedly opening fire during a fight, might fire still more bullets at them. Yet, they kept their guns in their holsters, knowing, if they fired to protect themselves, they could hit an innocent victim.
“It’s a decision you make in seconds, and those seconds can make a determination as to whether or not you as a police officer live or die,” said Lieutenant Mike Goodson.
Moments later, Carmichael was captured without a shot being fired by police.
“I’m glad he’s off the street, and I’m glad no one was hurt,” said Cole.
“Nobody got hurt, that’s the most important thing,” said White.
In those frightening moments in the darkness early Sunday morning, the officers had every legal right to open fire, trying to stop the man that was allegedly trying to kill them.
But in that moment, they say, their training, their instincts took over.
“Given the risk to the people, there was no way we were going to open fire,” said White.
The officers’ commander, calling their actions “heroic,” has now recommended them for departmental commendations.