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Hero in Gelman stabbing spree sues City

August 27, 2012 2:36:53 PM PDT
A man dubbed a hero is now suing New York City police. Joe Lozito made headlines when he took down a man on a killing spree last year, getting stabbed in the process.

"Looks me dead in the face, takes out the 8 inch knife and says 'You're gonna die. You're gonna die,' plunges the knife right into my face here," Joe Lozito said.

Lozito is still reliving his nightmare on the 3 train last year when he came face to face with and took down a wanted madman named Maksim Gelman as two police officers stood locked in the motorman's cab, mere feet away.

Lozito says Gelman actually approached the officers through the glass, but they sent him away. That's when he attacked the father of two, Lozito said.

"I was left alone that day to take down a person who had killed four people," he said.

More than a year later, Lozito's head is covered with scars from Gelman's knife and his lawyer has sued the city, claiming the officers failed to protect him. But in a legal document obtained by Eyewitness News, city attorneys now are trying to have the case thrown out in court, saying Lozito had no reason to expect the officers would step in.

"When you have a rapidly unfolding crime being committed, the police, their responsibility is effectively to act reasonably and nothing more," said Andrew Celli, Tort law expert.

But Lozito and his attorney say the officers knew it was Gelman on that train but let him roam the train anyway.

"By virtue of the fact they had two glock 9 onb them and that they were feet away from this and could have stopped it before he suffered his injuries, they had a duty to act," Edmond Chakmakian, Lozito's attorney said.

Lozito's nightmare ended on a subway platform under Times Square. Now he's hoping his legal battle won't end before it even begins. His lawyer set to argue the city's motion sometime this fall.

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