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Mayport Sailor Helps Police Officer Under Fire

7:16 AM, Feb 15, 2008   |    comments
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By Roger Weeder First Coast News MAYPORT, FL -- Gunner's Mate Juan Gallegos who carries a gun while in uniform wished he had one the night a Jacksonville Police Officer was shot several times trying to arrest a shoplifter. The incident on February 2 near the Regency Mall left Officer Jared Reston in serious condition after being shot six times in the face, chest and legs. The robbery suspect, 18-year-old Joel Abner, was fatally shot by the officer who returned fire. Gallegos is stationed on the USS Farragut. He said he was driving near the mall when he saw officers chasing two suspects. The Mayport sailor says he "did what I had to do." Gallegos thought at first he could tackle the suspect until gunfire was exchanged. "Bullets flying everywhere," he said. "I felt completely helpless." Gallegos says he was 15 yards away when Abner began firing his gun at the officer. "Kind of freaked out, no gun or anything, " the sailor told First Coast News. Gallegos says he stayed with the fallen officer after he was shot and was on the phone calling 911. The Mayport sailor doesn't think his actions on the night of February 2nd were heroic. Gallegos says he hoped he did what any person would do, try to help in anyway possible. Gallegos is from Peru. He grew up in Miami.

First Coast News

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