Hero cop ‘took bullet meant for the other guy’
Published: October 30, 2006 | 4968th good news item since 2003
The hero cop sprayed with bullets while stopping an execution-style slaying in Brooklyn has no regrets about leaping into danger, relatives said yesterday.
Sgt. James Rector “took the bullet that was meant for the other guy,” his proud father told the Daily News. “He did what he had to do.”
“He’s glad he came out safe and alive, thank the Lord,” added James Rector Sr., 54, of Atlanta. “He doesn’t run from trouble.”
The cop’s quick action Thursday saved the life of Rishon Decoursey-Bliss, 26, who was kneeling and pleading for his life outside the Walt Whitman Houses in Fort Greene as teen gunman Eric Hines aimed a .40-caliber handgun at his head, police said.
Hines shot Rector in the ankle and the rear after hearing the cop yell, “Freeze!” police said.
Still, Rector returned fire, shooting 11 times and mortally wounding the 17-year-old triggerman.
Speaking from his hospital bed in Lutheran Medical Center yesterday, Decoursey-Bliss said he’d like to meet the officer who saved his life.
“Tell him he can come and visit me,” he said, wincing in pain from a leg wound.
Rector, a 34-year-old father of three, has been recuperating at his Flushing apartment with his family, relatives said.
Loved ones described the 11-year NYPD veteran as a devoted cop who knew he wanted a future in law enforcement from a young age. He attended John Jay College of Criminal Justice and signed up for the NYPD immediately afterward, his father said.
Rector took pride in his most recent position as supervisor at the NYPD recruiting station in the Walt Whitman Houses in Fort Greene.
He’s also devoted to his wife and three children – and loves to work out with his oldest son, an avid football and basketball player, relatives said.
Now, as he recovers, the cop will have to decide whether to return to the job that he loves.
“I told him, it’s up to him to make his decision. I just said, ‘Take some time off, heal, then make up your mind,'” Rector Sr. said.
“I know they’d love to have him back. He’s a good man.”