Officer Greg Overstreet's bulletproof vest lived up to its name Saturday night.
A suspected drug dealer shot the county police officertwice at point-blank range during a scuffle.
"I reached up to grab his hand and I knew it was a revolver," said Overstreet. "When I was pushing it away, it was pointed at my face."
The officer said it was like getting smashed in the chest with ahammer. The slugs penetrated his jacket and shirt, but not his vest.
Overstreet, 28, is an aggressive patrolman; he doesn't spend his shift sitting in an idling cruiser. It is not unusual for the six-year department veteran to hide in bushes in the drug-plagued Severn neighborhood watching drug dealers peddle their wares. He waits patiently and then pounces.
And that's almost how he got killed Saturday morning.
About 11:30 p.m., Overstreet heard a call about drug trafficking on Arwell Court. The call included a warning about a man with a gun.
Overstreet was tied up with another call and couldn't get there right away. After he cleared his call, he drove over to the areaand parked his car.
As he walked into the park behind some town houses, he noticed two men.
"I was kind of sticking to the shadows," he said. "They were standing in there, not doing anything. But I decided to check them out anyway."
As Overstreet got close to the pair, one of the men saw him and ran.
"I grabbed the other by the arm and turned him around," he said. "At the same time, he dropped something on the ground."
As Overstreet reached down to pick it up, the man shoved him and took off running. Overstreet --ed after him and made an ankle-high tackle.
"He rolled on top of me and he hit me in the head," Overstreet said.
That's when the officer felt the gun.
Overstreet was still clutching the barrel of the revolver when the suspect fired the first time. The shot struck in the center of hischest.
"I tried to reach back and get my gun," he said. "He started to get back up and I thought he was leaving. But he fired another shot."
That one hit him in the right shoulder. The suspect ran off.
Overstreet started to run back to his car, where two other officers were waiting. The officers noticed the holes in his jacket and called an ambulance. Overstreet was treated at North Arundel Hospital and released. He has two small bruises as reminders of his near-fatal scuffle.
His vest, which was confiscated for evidence, still holdsthe slugs.
Overstreet plans to be back in his cruiser Saturday.
The kids in Pioneer City and Meade Village, with whom Overstreet plays basketball in his off hours, call him "RoboCop," a name they gavehim for his signature style. Overstreet is known for waltzing into crack houses with no backup just to stir up the crack-heads.
Policeare still looking for the man who shot Overstreet. He is described as a black male, about 6 feet tall and weighing 200 pounds. A second man is also being sought for questioning. He is described as a black male weighing 160 pounds.
Did Overstreet take an unnecessary and dangerous risk? Would he do it again?
"There's no doubt I did the right thing," the father of two young children said. "I feel like I didwhat I was supposed to do. If I had just stood there and let him go,I wouldn't be doing my job."