NYPD Suffers First 2005 On-Duty Death

A police officer who was shot in the heart early Monday during a car chase ignored the wound and helped try to catch the gunman before dying later at a hospital, authorities said.

Dillon Stewart, 35, died despite wearing a bulletproof vest. One round entered his left armpit, missing the protective plating "by no more than a quarter of an inch," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.

Stewart, who was married with two children, "showed remarkable tenacity and courage in pursuing his assailant," Kelly said.

The suspect, Allan Cameron, 27, also was picked out of a lineup Monday in connection with the robbery and shooting of officer Wiener Philippe on Nov. 19, police Sgt. Mary Christine Doherty said Monday.

Philippe was returning to his home at about 6 a.m. when a gunman hopped out of a car and demanded his wallet, watch and jewelry, police said.

Cameron was facing charges including first-degree murder and attempted murder in the two cases, Doherty said. Cameron was being processed early Tuesday, and information was not immediately available on whether he had a lawyer.

A handgun believed to be the homicide weapon was found outside an apartment building where Cameron was captured after a massive manhunt, police said.

Authorities said the suspected shooter, who surrendered peacefully, was given three years of probation in 2003 after pleading guilty to various traffic violations.

The chase began when Stewart and his partner spotted a car with stolen New Jersey license plates speeding through a red light, police said. Stewart made a U-turn and pursued the car with lights and sirens on.

At one point, the police car pulled alongside the other vehicle on its passenger side. That's when the driver leaned over and began shooting, police said.

With Stewart still in pursuit, the suspect sped to a basement garage about two blocks away before disappearing. Stewart left his car, realized he had been shot but remained conscious as other officers rushed him to the hospital, the commissioner said.

Following surgery, Stewart's heart stopped beating.

He was the first officer killed in the city in the line of duty this year, police said.