U. Darby cop recalls close call that left 2 bullets in his back
Put yourself in Upper Darby police Officer Ray Blohm's shoes. It's 12:30 a.m. last Friday at Copley Road and Ludlow Street, about a block from the 69th Street Terminal. You're holding a Taser. The bad guy whips out a revolver.
Put yourself in Upper Darby police Officer Ray Blohm's shoes.
It's 12:30 a.m. last Friday at Copley Road and Ludlow Street, about a block from the 69th Street Terminal. You're holding a Taser. The bad guy whips out a revolver.
Not exactly an ideal scenario for a street cop.
"I can't believe this guy's gonna pull a gun on me and try to kill me," was the thought that whizzed through Blohm's head before he heard the pop of .22-caliber gunfire.
One of the bullets fractured a vertebra in his spine and is still lodged in his body. Another grazed his thumb and severed the cord on his police radio as he sought cover behind a nearby vehicle.
"It happened so fast," he said. "Very fast."
But then the training kicked in for Blohm, 31, a highly decorated 10-year police veteran and SWAT team member. He ditched his Taser and grabbed his .45-caliber semiautomatic, returning fire at Marvin Marmolejos, an alleged drug dealer whom Blohm had stopped for drinking alcohol from an open container.
"I just reacted immediately," Blohm said yesterday. "My concern was to get home to my family."
That, he said, and to make sure that Marmolejos, 27, didn't escape.
"I knew there'd be officers responding to assist me, and my fear was that he would hurt somebody else," Blohm said. "I wanted to make sure I got him off the streets."
He did. Four of Blohm's shots hit or grazed Marmolejos. Blohm held him at gunpoint until police arrived. Marmolejos, who police say was in possession of marijuana and crack cocaine, is at the Delaware County Prison on $1 million bail, accused of attempted murder and other offenses.
"Very, very, very lucky guy," Upper Darby police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said of Blohm, a married father of two girls.
At a news conference yesterday, Blohm, of Aldan, lifted the back of his Flyers' Eastern Conference Championship T-shirt, revealing two bullet holes in his lower back.
"You can actually kind of see part of the round right in there," he said.
That bullet, which went through his belt and into his back, just below the skin, will likely be removed. Doctors probably won't try to remove a second bullet that traveled deeper into his body and nicked his spine.
Higher up Blohm's back, in the area behind his heart, there is a bruise where a round hit his bulletproof vest.
"If not for the vest, that would be a fatal wound," said Capt. George Rhoades.
"Lucky, I guess," Blohm said while examining the vest for the first time since the shooting.
He intends to return to the force - eventually.
"There's definitely some healing that needs to be done - not just physically, but mentally - before I can go back out there," he said.
Blohm has attended several funerals for Philadelphia cops killed in the line of duty. He knows that every encounter with a suspect can "go bad." Last week's shoot-out was yet another reminder.
"I'm fortunate to be here, and it's nice that everybody supports me and knows what we go through on a daily basis, what we go up against," Blohm said. "You never know. This could happen to anyone."