In late November 2005, police officer Dillon Stewart and his partner, Paul Lipka, stopped a 1990 Infiniti for a traffic violation (driving with dealer plates) in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. One of the men inside fired five bullets into the unmarked police car (Stewart and Lipka were uniformed), and Stewart (pictured) and Lipka proceeded to chase the car. But then Stewart realized that he had been shot -- the bullet had missed his bulletproof vest by a quarter of an inch and hit his heart.
Police arrested the driver, Allan Cameron, who was wanted for the shooting of another police officer. He had been at his girlfriend's house with a gun, and authorities say he confessed, telling them, "I stuck my head out to be sure they were the police. One of the cops ordered me to get out of the car. I didn't get out." Cameron later denied killing Stewart, even suggesting to the NY Times that another officer killed Stewart.
One of the first witnesses in Stewart's trial is expected to be Stewart's widow, Leslyn. The Post reports that she is likely to testify "about the last phone call she received from her husband as he lay dying in his patrol car, a fellow cop speeding him toward Kings County Hospital in a tragic race against time." She didn't actually speak to her husband: He left a message explaining that he had been shot, over the "sounds of sirens and another cop urging [him] to 'hold on.' "
Stewart's death stroked the debate about the death penalty in NY State as well as the effectiveness of the NYPD's bulletproof vests. Stewart, who had joined the NYPD after being an accountant with WNYC, was born in Jamaica and also had two daughters.