Searching for suspects in officer's shooting

Officer shot after interrupting burglary in Irvington; at least one suspect remains at large
April 11, 2008 10:13:01 AM PDT
Police are searching for more suspects after an Irvington detective was wounded during an attempted robbery. The detective shot and killed one armed man. At least one other suspect remains at large. The incident happened at a bodega located at 34 Union Avenue around 5 p.m. on Thursday.

Detective Roman Melenka, a 24-year veteran of the Irvington Police Department, this morning is being called a hero for his quick thinking and effective actions.

"This officer should be given the highest medal award for the actions. These bad guys picked the wrong guy...it wasn't their day," Stephen Ambrose/Essex Co. Prosecutor's Office said.

Officials say two armed suspects were in the process of robbing the P & P Tobacco Store in Irvington when Detective Melenka entered the store to buy a soda.

"After identifying himself he reached for his weapon, while the suspect then pointed a weapon at him....shooting the officer in the upper-left forearm. The officer then returned fire, striking the suspect (in the chest and the leg), then handcuffed the suspect...We even recovered a weapon at the scene," Chief Michael Chase/Irvington Police said.

Melenka was treated for non-life threatening injuries at University Hospital.

The 25-year-old robbery suspect shot by Melenka was pronounced dead at University Hospital a short time later. Police are still searching for another suspect who fled the scene.

The shooting was captured on in-store surveillance video. Police would also like to talk to a woman who ran from the store.

Det. Melenka is just three-months shy of retirement. He is 56-years-old and also a firearms instructor.


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