HEMPSTEAD, NY (CBSNewYork) -- Officials say a police officer's bulletproof vest helped save his life during a shootout early Friday morning in Hempstead.
LISTEN: WCBS 880's Sophia Hall reports
It happened around 3:22 a.m. Friday at the corner of Washington and Cooper streets.
LISTEN: 1010 WINS' Mona Rivera reports
"The officer was struck at least once in the arm and once in the back and the vest stopped the bullet from entering the rest of his body," said Joseph Wing, Hempstead Chief of Police.
Officers were investigating two street robberies when they pulled up their cruiser to two men - one of them wearing a ski mask. That suspect took off and the officer ran after him when, police say the suspect shot at the officer who then returned fire.
"And he struck this individual in the lower abdomen and the groin area," Wing said. "I didn't speak to him directly about the vest, but I'm sure he's very thankful that the vest saved his life."
The officer was taken to Mercy Hospital where he was treated and released. One suspect was also shot twice and was taken to Nassau County Medical Center. He could be charged with attempted murder of a police officer.
"The suspect is likely to live. The officer is also not in life-threatening condition," Nassau County police Lt. Kevin Smith told WCBS 880's Sophia Hall.
"What does he have? He has total disdain for the law. Total disdain. So it's a good thing he's off the street," Smith added.
Wing said the officer is young and relatively new to the Hempstead police force.
A second suspect is being questioned. Police are still investigating.
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