Andrew Leso

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Agent Andrew Leso

Agent Andrew Leso

Eastern District Agent Shot November 14, 1977   Agent Andrew Leso Shortly before 9:00 p.m., on November 14, 1977, Police Agent Andrew Leso of the Eastern District was patrolling in the 2000 block of Harford Road. He had conducted several field interviews on the street and was returning to his patrol car when he saw a man in his early 20's who he had arrested previously. Agent Leso recalled that this suspect's name had been read out at roll call several days earlier as an escapee. Agent Leso approached the suspect, called for a patrol wagon and attempted to place the suspect against a wall so that he could be searched as part of the process of arrest. The suspect resisted, turning toward the officer and at the same time placing a handgun, which he had concealed in his belt, against the officer's side. In the ensuing struggle for possession of the suspect's weapon both Agent Leso and the assailant were knocked to the street. The suspect at one point pulled back aiming his weapon at Agent Leso's head, threatening to shoot if the officer moved. At the same time the suspect reached for the officer's still holstered weapon. Once again Agent Leso attempted to gain possession of his assailant's weapon when the suspect moved back slightly and fired point blank at the officer who was lying on his back in the street. The bullet struck Agent Leso's soft body armor, near the collar bone. The suspect immediately retreated through a three foot wide alley-way which runs parallel to 20th Street from the 2000 block Harford Road. Agent Leso was able, because of the protection offered by the soft body armor, to pursue the assailant returning the fire. Officers responding to the shooting scene found Agent Leso standing next to his patrol vehicle. A description, including the name and age of the assailant was broadcast, and the victim was taken to the emergency room at Johns Hopkins Hospital a short distance away. Doctors examining the wound found what amounted to a very serious bruise, a result of the blunt trauma of the projectile hitting the protective soft body armor. Doctors say that without the protection of the soft body armor the wound could very well have been fatal. Instead, after spending the night at the hospital, Agent Leso was released 12 hours later. Crime laboratory technicians recovered the .32 caliber bullet from the soft body armor. It had not penetrated the protective fabric. A little more than an hour after the shooting incident officers arrested a 23 year old escapee from a Maryland Correctional Institution on the street not far from where the shooting occurred. He was arrested without incident and was charged with assault with intent to murder Police Agent Leso. Additional handgun violation charges were also placed against the suspect. Commissioner Donald D. Pomerleau provided the soft body armor to all members of the Department after supervising its development late in 1975. The protective fabric was first developed by the DuPont Corporation to replace steel in radial tires. It was incorporated in the soft body armor, which was developed to specifications after intensive field testing by the Department and experts from Edgewood Arsenal in Harford County. Soft body armor is not a "bullet proof vest." It is instead a lightweight garment which is designed to minimize the impact of projectiles from weapons which are commonly found in the urban area. Although the wearer is most often protected from the damages which can be inflicted by a bullet penetrating his skin, he still runs the risk of serious injury as the result of the blunt trauma or impact of the projectile against the soft body armor

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