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Queens Chronicle

Obama hails one of the NYPD’s Finest

Off-duty cop shot protecting woman in ’13

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Posted: Thursday, May 15, 2014 10:30 am

An NYPD officer from Queens who was shot last June coming to the aid of a beating victim while he was off duty was honored by President Obama at the White House on Monday.

Officer Joseph Koch was one of 53 Top Cops selected for the honor by the National Association of Police Organizations.

Koch was at a Father’s Day celebration in Jamaica that night when he heard a terrified 10-year-old child run into the road from his South Street home screaming that someone was killing his mother.

Racing into the house with his off-duty weapon drawn, Koch confronted Jose Bernazard, 38, an ex-boyfriend who police say was beating the child’s mother before he allegedly made a grab for Koch’s gun.

In the ensuing struggle, a bullet pierced the officer’s left hand. He then shot Bernazard in the stomach before arresting him.

“When the moment came — when the shooting started, or a bomb went off or a hostage was taken or a child screamed for help — they did not hesitate,” Obama said of the honorees according to a statement posted on the White House website. “They went into action. They ran toward the danger — not away from it. And they risked their lives to save the lives of others.”

Bernazard remains held without bail. He was charged with first- and second-degree attempted murder, two counts of second-degree assault, menacing a police officer, first-degree burglary, first- and second-degree criminal contempt, aggravated criminal contempt and endangering the welfare of a child.

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