ORANGE (CBS) – A local police officer is being praised for saving the life of a Massachusetts State Trooper after the trooper was stabbed and nearly killed earlier this month.
New details about the attack were revealed Tuesday in Orange District Court as 18-year-old Nghia Le, of Manchester, New Hampshire was arraigned on several charges, including armed assault with intent to murder.
The courtroom was filled with several troopers in a show of support for wounded Trooper Mark Whitcomb, who was also there to face Le.
Le pleaded not guilty, was ordered held without bail and sent to the Franklin County House of Correction, where he’ll be examined by a forensic psychologist.
Whitcomb did not speak to reporters after Le’s arraignment, but Assistant District Attorney Steven Gagne provided new details of the horrific attack in central Massachusetts on October 19.
Le is accused of stealing a car in Walpole that day, then leading police on a chase into Vermont and Massachusetts. He crashed in New Salem and that’s when Trooper Whitcomb pulled up.
Gagne said Whitcomb wasn’t even out of his cruiser when Le started attacking him with a knife.
“He got approximately 7 or 8 swings of the knife in before Trooper Whitcomb was able to escape the cruiser. He stumbled off to the distance, just to get away from this guy and then Mr. Le jumped into the cruiser and then tried to carjack a State Police cruiser,“ Gagne said.
But Le wasn’t able to get the car into gear and that’s when Erving Police Officer James Loynd showed up.
Gagne said Loynd fired one shot into the cruiser and ordered Le to show him his hands, but Le rushed at Loynd. As the Erving officer backed up, he fired four times, hitting Le, Gagne said.
“Mr. Le crumbled to the ground, he still had possession of the knife in his hand and despite repeated orders to ‘show me your hands, show me your hands,’ he still tried to get up from the ground with the knife in his hand and that’s when Officer Loynd fired his service weapon one more time, finally subduing Mr. Le,” Gagne said.
“I have no doubt that Officer Loynd saved Trooper Whitcomb’s life.”
Both the trooper and Le were taken to UMass Memorial Hospital in Worcester.
Trooper Whitcomb, 47, got through surgery and was able to go home to his family.
“He’s pretty banged up. He required surgery for a collapsed lung. He also had some deep muscle and nerve damage, I believe, on his left arm. He’s still wearing a sling, as well as a severe laceration to his scalp. So there’s a long road ahead for him, but he’s glad to be home and he’s lucky to be alive,” Gagne said.
Le is due back in court Monday, November 5.