(Rochester, N.Y.) - Whenever a police officer is shot, word quickly gets around to the brotherhood.
Getting the call about Tony DiPonzio took Drew Forsythe back in time. He was shot three times in 1996.
"It brings back all the memories I went through,” Forsythe said. "Here he was living out his dream like all of us.”
Forsythe, too, was shot while on duty—it was December 4, 1996.
Forsythe was looking for someone on a warrant that day; he stopped a car with a loud muffler.
“As I went up to get his identification, he exited the vehicle, and underneath the seat he came up with a 357 magnum,” Forsythe said. “He shot me three times at point blank range."
His bulletproof vest saved his life.
He said officer DiPonzio never had a chance to protect himself--he was ambushed. “Another senseless act-- because some kid chose to be an executioner and now this 22-year-old is fighting for his life.”
Forsythe praised his fellow officers. "Imagine pulling up to a scene where shots have been fired-- you don't know where they came from--you just react. Absolutely they are heroes!”
Forsythe joined dozens of officers at Rochester General to support DiPonzio's family. "He was in surgery when I went up there his father was updating us on his condition…anytime there’s a traumatic incident you feel compelled to be together.”
That's why he went to the hospital Saturday night; he didn't get to see Tony DiPonzio, but wanted his family to know--they aren't alone.
Forsythe said what he remembers most about the time he was shot--was the support his family received from officers and the community.
Police from agencies from across the state and country have paid visits, sent food or sent prayers and well wishes. That's something the family for which the family is grateful.