It was the classic case of being in the right place at the right time for two off-duty police officers from the same district.
On Sunday night, 12th District Police Officer Marc Marchetti was sitting in his car parked on the 2000 block of South Simpson Street near his station while off-duty. While inside, Marchetti says he spotted a man, later identified as 19-year-old James Smith, ducking down behind his car. He then spotted three police cars with sirens drive by.
Growing suspicious, Marchetti called the police district and found out there was a deadly shooting in the area. After receiving a description of the suspect in the shooting, Marchetti says he glanced at Smith once more and realized that he matched the description. Marchetti says Smith then ran down the street, not knowing he had been spotted.
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Marchetti followed Smith to a nearby house, called for backup and apprehended him. When Smith came in for questioning, police say he was carrying bloody shorts inside a bag. Smith admitted to the shooting and was charged with the crime, according to investigators.
Another off-duty officer from the 12th District made an arrest on Wednesday. Officer George Perez just finished his 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. shift and parked his car on the 6200 block of Woodland.
“I was going home, ready to go to sleep,” said Officer Perez.
Perez says he suddenly spotted two men fighting which quickly escalated into a drunken brawl and ended with one man stabbing the other.
“I couldn’t believe it at the first sight,” said Perez. “My second thought was to follow the male and apprehend him.”
Perez called in rescue crews and then chased after the armed suspect as he ran away. He says the suspect, later identified as 50-year-old Carl Henrie, only stopped after Perez pulled out his gun.
Perez called for backup and apprehended Henrie. The man who he had stabbed was taken to the hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
“They’re playing around calling me a hero all day,” said Perez. “But it’s nothing like that. It’s just something I have to do.”