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By Barbara Boyer and Dwight Ott
Philadelphia Inquirer

PHILADELPHIA - Two men and a 24th District police officer were injured yesterday during a confrontation in Port Richmond that included a short pursuit, a crash, and a struggle over an officer's gun, authorities said.
The chain of events began about 2:45 p.m., when police responding to a report that a vehicle in the Port Richmond area was carrying drugs and guns, began chasing a red Pontiac minivan, authorities said.
The minivan, however, crashed into a tree on the sidewalk in the 2900 block of Salmon Street, near Birch Street, setting up the struggle that followed, according to Philadelphia police spokesman Lt. Frank Vanore.
The passenger in the minivan, described by police as a Hispanic male in his early 20s, attempted to run, but was wrestled to the ground by a patrolman within feet of the vehicle.
During the struggle, the suspect tried to get the officer's 9mm Glock, causing the clip to dislodge and bullets to spill to the ground, Vanore said.
At least one bullet remained in the pistol, and it discharged, wounding the suspect in the stomach, police said.
"The police officer's training is to retain that gun at all costs," Vanore said during an afternoon news conference. "One of the suspects was hit one time, and that was from the officer's gun."
The suspect was in critical but stable condition at Temple University Hospital last night. Police said the suspect was expected to survive.
Meanwhile, the driver of the van ran about a half-block northwest on Birch before being apprehended by a second patrolman, police said. As he ran, the driver threw a bag containing cocaine onto a garage roof, where it was later recovered by officers, Vanore said.
During the apprehension, the driver of the minivan, described by police as a black male in his 20s, fell and hit his head. He was treated by medics at the scene.
The patrolman sprained his knee during the pursuit and was treated and released at Northeastern Hospital, police said.
Both suspects were arrested on narcotics and other charges, police said. Officials last night declined to release the suspects' names because the needed paperwork was incomplete.
The names of the officers were not released.
The incident happened in the same neighborhood where 24th District Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski was gunned down during a gun battle with several bank robbers in May.
Five officers have been killed in the line of duty in the last two years. Last month, Sgt. Patrick MacDonald was shot to death in North Philadelphia during a confrontation with a paroled convict.

Wire Service
 
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