On Sunday, 11-year-old Jacob Rodriguez ran out of his home in Jamaica, Queens, yelling, "He's going to kill my mother!" Off-duty police officer Joseph Koch, who was visiting his fiancee's family nearby, rushed into the house and eventually saved Jacob's mother, Christina Rodriguez, from a former tenant/ex-boyfriend who was allegedly attacking her. Yesterday, Jacob visited Koch, who was recuperating in the hospital from being shot in the hand; the boy says he told the cop, "'Thanks for everything; you saved my life.' He was like, ‘Anytime.'" Jacob added, "He's a pretty cool guy."
Rodriguez apparently had an order of protection against Bernazard—they reportedly dated last year and a cousin said, "He’s been stalking her for three years after renting a room from her for a month." He entered her home on Sunday and his visit soon became violent, with Bernazard allegedly beating the 34-year-old woman. When little Jacob tried to protect his mother, he was also beaten—so he ran out to get help.
Soon after Koch entered, he and Bernazard began struggling for Koch's gun, which went off. One bullet went through Koch's left hand and hit Bernazard, who was also hit by two other shots. Rodriguez needed 11 stitches to close a laceration from Bernazard.
Police Commissioner Kelly said that Koch required many surgeries because the bullet shattered bones in his hand. (Koch is right-handed.) Jacob said, "I’m thinking about becoming a police officer because of what Joe did. He saved me and my mom. Maybe I can do that for others."
Bernazard has been charged with assault, criminal contempt, aggravated harassment, burglary, endangering the welfare of a child and resisting arrest.