Wounded New Orleans officer credited with drawing fire away from partner

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When Officer Troy Pichon took a bullet to the leg during a firefight with a suspect Monday night in Central City, he may have saved his partner’s life.

When the Sixth District’s ranking officers assembled for their weekly meeting Wednesday, Sgt. Eric Gillard of the district task force reported that he was limited in what he could say about the shooting on Monday. But when he and Pichon first tried to stop a man (later identified as Michael Dabney) on Third Street, the suspect’s gunfire was initially directed at Gillard before Pichon returned fire, Gillard said.

The suspect then turned his gunfire on Pichon, Gillard said, striking him in the leg.

“Pichon helped me out a lot, and I really appreciate it,” Gillard said.

As the sergeant of a proactive task force in one of the city’s hotspots for violence, Gillard said he has been fired upon before, but never had a partner wounded. That moment was unforgettable, he said.

“It happened quick, but it’ll be with me forever,” Gillard said.

Several of the Sixth District’s ranking officers ate lunch with Pichon on Wednesday, and Lt. Frank Young said he is recovering well, starting rehabilitation and expected to return to work. Gillard and Young praised the detectives and platoon officers involved in the response to the shooting Monday, noting their painstaking effort not only to find Dabney, but also to collect any evidence relevant to the investigation.

Dabney was not struck by the officers’ shooting, officials have said, but was treated for dog bites after the search. He has a lengthy record of arrests that include murder and robbery, police have said.

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