Storied officer involved in Kensington shooting

KENSINGTON - September 16, 2009

It all began around 8:40 p.m. when highway patrol officers were pursuing two men on a motorcycle in the 200 block of East Hagert Street.

The men on the bike have been identified as Jose Colon, 33, and John James, 18.

Police have not said why they were pursuing the bike, but investigators have said Colon had a gun.

At one point, police say, Colon got off the bike but James drove toward an officer, trying to run him down at Macher and Dauphin Streets.

Sergeant /*Richard DeCoatsworth*/ fired one shot, hitting James in the left leg.

James later checked himself into Hahnmann Medical Center in stable condition.

Police also seized a blood-spattered car belonging to James' mother after discovering she drove him to the hospital.

Colon was later arrested at his home in the 2100 block of Palethorpe Street. He is charged with Fleeing Police, Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Violation of Uniform Firearms Act and other related offenses.

No officers were hurt in this incident.

DeCoatsworth has been placed on administrative leave as internal affairs investigates the confrontation. That is standard protocol any time an officer fires his or her weapon.

As a rookie officer, DeCoatsworth was hit in the face by a shotgun blast during a car stop in 2007. He had to undergo multiple surgeries to repair the damage.

In April, a man lunged for DeCoatsworth's gun and it went off during a struggle, wounding the man. The man ran off and was fatally shot by other officers in another confrontation.

"He's had more than his share of things happen to him on the street," said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey. "But, he's an aggressive officer and he likes to be out there on the street. I just want to make sure he's okay."

DeCoatsworth was also invited to sit next to First Lady Michelle Obama during the president's economic address to Congress in February.

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