Chester officer uses body to shield family from gunfire

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Watch the report from Vernon Odom on Action News at 4:30 p.m. on August 2, 2018.

A Chester police officer is being recognized for a selfless act of bravery, using his body to shield a mother and children from gunfire and saving their lives.

Officer Jose Alvarez recalled his near death experience at 7th and Tilghman when he and his partner answered a call about a large fight on Monday night.

Alvarez's partner was around the corner from where the fight started.

Alvarez, an 8-year veteran, was talking with a mother and her three children about Chester's 9:30 p.m. curfew for minors when the gunfire erupted.

"I heard 'pow, pow,' the first two gunshots go off from behind me," Alvarez told Action News.

That's when Alvarez shielded the mother and the children from the gunfire with his back.

"Once I heard the gunshots I grabbed the family, shielded them, pushed one child to the floor," Alvarez said. "I heard five more shots, got her up and put them all at their front door so they could go inside."

With the family safely inside their home, Alvarez went after the gunmen, who eventually got away and remain at large.

The next morning, there was another shooting incident at 7th and Tilghman. This time police chased the suspects into Upper Chichester where they crashed their vehicle into a building and were captured.

Police do not believe the incidents were directly related.
In the meantime, the police department is hailing Alvarez for his courage and quick reaction.

"The fatherly side of the officers kicked in," said Chester Police Commissioner Otis Blair. "It wasn't only that they're police officers - they did everything properly. I'm proud of that."

"I don't consider myself a hero," Alzarez says. "This is my passion. This is what I signed up for."

Fortunately, no one was injured in the incident.

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