The Patchogue community is hoping for the recovery of Suffolk County police officer Christopher Racioppo, who was stabbed in the leg following a motor vehicle crash in Patchogue on Saturday.
Centereach resident Jonathan Nunez was erratically driving a 1999 Mercedes Benz with no headlights on southbound South Ocean Avenue on April 10.
Around 10:40 p.m., officer Racioppo activated his overhead lights in an attempt to pull over the vehicle. Nunez then allegedly crashed into a 2004 Nissan sedan at the intersection of South Ocean Avenue and Brook Street.
Nunez exited the vehicle and failed to comply with Racioppo’s commands, reports said. Nunez engaged in a physical altercation with Racioppo in the yard of the home located at 473 South Ocean Ave, during which Nunez stabbed the officer in the thigh, hitting a main artery. Two Good Samaritans and responding Fifth Precinct officers took Nunez into custody.
Racioppo was transported to Long Island Community Hospital in East Patchogue and then transferred to Stony Brook University Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery for a ruptured artery. Racioppo remains in critical condition.
Nunez, 25, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault upon a police officer, driving while intoxicated and resisting arrest. He was admitted to Long Island Community Hospital in East Patchogue and will be arraigned at a later date.
The driver of the Nissan, Luis Tayupanda, of Patchogue, was transported to Stony Brook University Hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.
Suffolk County Police Academy in Brentwood on Monday thanked the Fifth Precinct officers and two locals for their quick actions, which helped to save Racioppo immediately after the stabbing.
“I saw Officer Racioppo’s face, and I knew we were in trouble,” Suffolk County Police Sergeant Frank Samartino said during the press conference. “He was bleeding heavily from his left leg...I knew I had seconds to get him out of there.”
Noel DiGerolamo, president of the Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association said on Sunday that during the incident, police successfully applied a tourniquet which prevented further blood loss for Racioppo.
“We extend our thoughts to Officer Racioppo and ask all Suffolk County residents to keep him and his family in their prayers as the circumstances remain critical,” DiGerolamo said. “This incident reaffirms the dangers faced by Suffolk Police every time they report for duty.”