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Newark cops honored with Valor Awards after being shot in the line of duty


The two were pursuing an armed suspect when they were shot but are expected to make full recoveries and rejoin the force

Two Newark police officers are on the mend after being shot in the line of duty in November, and both have been honored with Valor Awards by the 200 Club of Essex County, which helps the families of police and firefighters killed in the line of duty.

Jabril Paul and his partner Johnny Aquino were supposed to be backups on a call to arrest an armed suspect. Paul said after a struggle with the suspect in a parking lot, “the next thing I heard was pop pop pop pop pop so that threw me off guard, and then in the midst of it I fell to the ground, so while I’m on the ground he’s probably like 4 or 5 feet away from me and the firearm was pointed at me so I’m thinking to myself, I’m like ‘Damn I’m done.’”

Aquino described what happened to him. “It looked like he (the suspect) was hugging me from the side, I thought he was punching me, but it just happened so quick that I just like ducked and it turned out to be a gun, so all I remember is that it gets dark and I drop,” he said.

Paul was shot in the leg. Aquino suffered more extensive internal injuries. Both are on leave, doing physical therapy, and are expected to make full recoveries and rejoin the force.

Aquino said it’s the only thing he’s ever wanted to do.

“I love my job,” he said. “I always loved putting on the uniform in the morning, showing up to work, seeing the people I work with. That year and a half was definitely a huge experience that I just wouldn’t trade for the world,” he said.

Both he and Paul had only been on the force for about a year and a half at the time of the shootings.

Janice Kirkel is a lifelong award-winning journalist who has done everything from network newscasts to national and local sports reports to business newscasts to specialized reporting and editing in technical areas of business and finance such as bankruptcy, capital structure changes and reporting on the business of the investment business.