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The Night Rachel Morgan Saved Her Own Life


"Heroic" act of self-defense cited as authorities release details of probe into shooting.


Gravely wounded, Rachel Morgan fell backwards onto the snowy ground.


It could have been over within seconds. All Michael Carmody had to do was step out of his car and forever have his name tagged with the modifier �cop killer.


But Rachel Morgan didn't get this far, didn't work in a jail and as a dispatcher before landing her dream job, by backing down from a challenge.


Somehow, with two bullets in her and bleeding in the snow, she gripped her gun and with her left index finger unloaded 13 shots into Carmody's door, sending fragments into his legs. Soon Carmody, drunk on vodka, with no chance of escape and Officer Ryan Hayo closing in fast, put his gun under his chin and fired what turned out to be a fatal shot.


The entire exchange lasted 22 seconds.


The surgeons did their part to save Rachel�she calls it putting "Humpty Dumpty back together again"-as did the EMTs on the scene and partner Ryan Hayo. But the  pivotal player in saving Rachel Morgan�s life late on Super Bowl Sunday  was Rachel Morgan. And dying never crossed her mind.


�We go home,� Morgan said Thursday when she appeared with Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli (video) as he detailed the results of his office's investigation into the shooting. The probe found the shooting "beyond justified," Molinelli said.


"At the end of the day we go home," she said. "I truly believed in my heart that I was going home."


Rachel's act of self-preservation has left even the most veteran officers and investigators amazed.


"That kind of coolness is extraordinary," Molinelli said. "She is an absolute hero."


Morgan first spoke about the shooting in an interview with Patch earlier this month.


Thursday was special for another reason. For after the surgeries and rehab and struggles, she finally got to don her beloved Paramus police uniform.


"Incredible," she said when asked how the uniform felt on her skin.


Too often, as CBS's Lou Young pointed out, press conferences like the one held Thursday follow days of mourning and a bagpipe-serenaded hearse. And for an added dose of context, the conference room where Prosecutor Molinelli holds news briefings is known as the Mary Ann Collura room, named for the Fair Lawn officer shot to death in 2003.


Molinelli went through the shooting step by step, from Carmody's night of drinking at a Super Bowl party in Bogota, to his chance encounter with Rachel when he nearly struck her patrol car while pulling out of a Route 17 service station, to the chase down the highway, to the chronology of how the bullets flew. There were pictures and graphics and even the bullet-riddled door from Carmody's car on display.


But, in a way, none of that really seemed to matter as Rachel gingerly walked into the conference room. She was there. She could tell the story. The room hung on her words.


And in an unassuming manner, Rachel opened a window into her thoughts.


What was she thinking as she lay bleeding in the snow? Well, for one, that she was all that stood between Carmody and the motorists stopped on the Parkway on-ramp where the shooting occured.


"Protect the people who were lined up on the ramp just trying to get home."


Reprinted from   www.paramus.patch.com


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