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AROUND THE STATE

Spare ammunition deflects gun shot

NEW YORK (AP) -- A police officer escaped serious injury during an early morning shootout Monday, after a bullet aimed at his gut struck his gun belt instead, police said.

Officer Thomas Richards was treated and released from a hospital. He was the fourth NYPD officer shot in two months; one died and the others were wounded.

Richards and Officer Thomas Dunne were in a police van at about 1:15 a.m. in lower Manhattan when they saw Luis Martinez, 25, on the street. Martinez noticed them coming, did an about-face and headed the other direction, they said. When the officers caught up to him, he opened fire, police said. Richards was struck by a 9 mm round deflected by the spare ammunition magazine on his gun belt. Martinez was hit once by return fire and captured soon afterward.

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3 visitors rescued in 3 separate searches

LAKE PLACID (AP) -- Forest rangers rescued three people from the High Peaks region of the Adirondacks over the weekend.

The Department of Environmental Conservation said Mike Jones, of Andover, Conn.; Matthew Bradley, of Lee, Mass.; and Brian Sullivan, of Brooklyn, were hiking or skiing separately when they had to be rescued during three searches between Saturday evening and Sunday morning.

The first occurred Saturday when DEC rangers plucked Jones, 42, off Algonquin Peak. He had tried climbing the mountain Friday but was pushed off course by a snowstorm. He rode out the single-digit night in a snow cave.

Bradley, 36, was found Sunday morning off the trails a mile downhill from the summit of Mount Marcy, the state's highest peak at 5,344 feet. He had planned to snowshoe to the peak but got lost.

Sullivan, 62, was cross-country skiing near the region's Olympic facilities and was reported overdue by his wife Saturday. He was found after a ranger heard him shouting.

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Safety mechanism was off in elevator death

NEW YORK (AP) -- Investigators said Monday an important elevator safety mechanism was turned off when an advertising executive was crushed to death at a Manhattan office building.

The city Investigation and Buildings departments released the findings Monday.

Suzanne Hart, 41, was killed when an elevator started rising with its doors open Dec. 14. She was dragged between the car and the wall.

Workers had adjusted the elevator that morning. A mechanic told investigators he'd temporarily overridden a system that prevented the elevator from moving with its doors open. He told investigators the mechanism was back online before Hart arrived.

But the report said the mechanism "was apparently bypassed at the time of the fatal incident."

The mechanic's attorney said he's cooperated with the investigation. An attorney for Transel Elevator Inc. declined to comment.