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Reprinted with Permission
ARLINGTON, Va. - A split second is all the warning Pentagon police officers had before a gunman opened fire. The shooter, John Patrick Bedell, was armed, ready and unsuspecting. It was only when one of the officers locked eyes with him that he saw a look that told the former Marine something horrible was about to happen.
"He had a look on his face where I knew something was about to happen-- what I don't know, but I've seen that look before," said Officer Marvin Carraway, one of two officers manning the security checkpoint outside the Metro station last Thursday night.
It's that look Carraway says he saw while serving in Iraq's on the face of enemy combatants.
Bedell died in the shootout. On Monday, the officers talked for the first time about the encounter. They won't call themselves heroes, but when that gunman came within feet of taking their lives and others, the officers never backed down.
Officers Carraway and Colin Richards immediately returned fire.
"I was very scared, but I didn't panic. I did what I was taught in training," said Richards.
"I heard a large popping sound, said Officer Jeffrey Amos, speaking about the first clue he had that anything was wrong.
Officer Amos said he heard the popping sound at the nearby exit he was manning. He knows the sound of gunfire, and ran toward the shooting.
"I saw the young man, the shooter running towards me with a gun in his hand, and I raised up my UMP40 and fired a few rounds at which time he went down," said Amos.
After Bedell went down Amos checked for any other shooters, afraid of an ambush, and never realizing he'd been shot.
"Once everything calmed down I felt what I believed to be blood going down my side and when I looked at my right shoulder I saw a tear on my shoulder and right bicep," Amos said.
Only then did he tell his sergeant I think I've been shot. Officer Carraway too had been shot-- in the thigh.
"I'm thankful that I survived the ordeal," he said.
The officers say there was no time to think about the danger. The thought of dying never crossed Richards' mind.
"I wasn't ready. I was ready to come back the next day to work. I don't plan to give up," he said.
As a retired New Orleans police officer, Amos had been on the SWAT team and worked undercover in drug enforcement. Experience taught him how to react but God, he believes was his shield.
"I thank God I just got a graze wound in the shoulder, not a bullet to the head," Amos said.
The three officers remain on administrative leave, which is standard in these types of cases. But when the time comes to return to duty, all three officers say they won't hesitate.