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Fayetteville Officer Credits Vest, Bystander for Help During Shooting

Posted March 27, 2007

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— A Fayetteville police officer is out of the hospital after being shot in the line of duty and is thanking the community for its support and his bulletproof vest for probably saving his life.

Officer Doug Austin said Tuesday that he is eager to get back to a job he loves.

"All points considered, I feel pretty good,” Austin said.

Austin said he knew such a shooting could happen and he was aware of the dangers of his chosen profession. But he's 23 and had only been on the job for two years when he Robert Hampton Taylor, 51, of Fayetteville, allegedly shot him.

"I actually was struck right over the left chest, and it left a nasty, black, baseball-sized welt," Austin said.

Police said Austin was chasing two men toward a fence off Galveston Drive early Monday morning when he was shot. He could not describe details of what happened, but he's grateful for the vest.

"If the day comes for you, you want everything to get you over the edge and (to) take every advantage you can," he said.

Austin said he is also grateful for the 21-year-old Fort Bragg soldier who dashed out of his apartment and came to his rescue. The soldier, who wants to remain anonymous, said he pulled the suspect off the officer.

"The moment when I looked over my shoulder and (saw) him coming, it was a good sight to see,” Austin said. “It was nice to see help coming. I knew the cavalary was coming from the police department, but he bridged the gap and definitely came through in a scary situation."

Austin has 30 stitches because of all the cuts in his head from the fight with Taylor. He said he’s going back to work in a week or so without missing a beat.

"It's a job that has inherent risks, you know,” he said. “You just try to mitigate them as best as possible. I guess you can't live in fear."

Taylor faces numerous charges, including attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon.

Steven Bethea, 39, is charged with possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon and failure to appear on a misdemeanor larceny charge. Police said he was with Taylor when the chase began.

15 Comments

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  • kekili8882 Apr 14, 2007

    I am the neighbor of the soldier. He is a very, very fine and upstanding gentleman. My husband is currently deployed and he-and his wife-have made sure that I'm ok and that I feel safe while he's gone. I am so lucky to have these wonderful people as neighbors. For those of you that don't think this story is news, try living in the neighborhood where it happened and tell me that you don't think this story bears some news time.

  • 2little2late Apr 6, 2007

    RE:"guess geekgirl would think it was news worthy if it were her that was shot in the chest and beat about the head, lol, it news worthy cause it tells two hero's stories."....what if the suspect was riding a sheep dwon the road, stopped at applebees to eat...double-parked the sheep.was appriached wrongfully by the officer.and THEN shot the officer....now THAT would arise to the level of newsworthy...glad the officer is ok...proud of the soldier..i'd like to think we would all help like that if we could

  • Been there once Apr 3, 2007

    There are not enough Hero's in the world and not enough publicity for those that are. Would greekgirl have run from her appartment to help the fall policeman? I think not.

  • neednewgov Apr 3, 2007

    MY THANKS TO THE BRAVE FORT BRAGG SOLDIER THAT HELPED ONE IN NEED GOD BLESS YOU

  • deerslayer Mar 31, 2007

    The story that would not die....

  • nc_copper1993 Mar 31, 2007

    guess geekgirl would think it was news worthy if it were her that was shot in the chest and beat about the head, lol, it news worthy cause it tells two hero's stories.

  • just my2cents Mar 30, 2007

    Thank God He placed the soldier in the right place at the right time. Sounds like the crook's intentions were to become a murderer that day.

  • 6 Mar 29, 2007

    The suspect shoule be up for the death penalty. Even though the officer did not die that was the criminals intent. Police officers are hired to enforce the standards of civilization. When someone attacks a police officer it shows that they are not a healthy part of civilization, and like any cancer they should be removed.

  • 68_polara Mar 29, 2007

    I wish we could provide police with more dogs to chase these hoods. They are expensive and I hate to see them hurt but I would rather see a dog get hurt then a cop any day. Besides dogs are a lot faster and they treat these punks like they need to be treated with really big teeth!

  • ltbarkley Mar 28, 2007

    twright530, what could a criminal do with the info here? I am really curious what you meant by that? Its not like the information that a bullet-proof VEST covers your chest is any secret, now is it?

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