Officer Dana Haff, Officer David Amaro, Sgt. Derek Necheporek and Sgt. Barry Banfield (Left to right)

ITHACA, N.Y. — Five Ithaca Police officers were honored Monday afternoon for saving lives and capturing two suspects during a 2013 stabbing that left four women with serious injuries.

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During the monthly Ithaca Kiwanis Officer of the Month award luncheon, officials recognized Officer Dana Haff, Officer David Amaro, Sgt. Derek Necheporek, Sgt. Barry Banfield and Investigator  Jeff Huddle.

Officer Dana Haff, Officer David Amaro, Sgt. Derek Necheporek, Sgt. Barry Banfield and Investigator Jeff Huddle(Left to right)

The officers were at the scene of a stabbing where nearly 40 to 50 people were involved in a “sea of fighting” on Oct. 24, 2013 at the 600 block of Chestnut Street.

Necheporek said, “It still plays very vividly the things that happened…it literally was incredibly chaotic. People everywhere. People with weapons all over the place.”

Reports from the incident state that officers saw people with guns, knives and baseball bats during the fights. Children were also at the scene and witnessed the stabbings.

Necheporek said he saw Amaro carrying a critically injured woman — one of four stabbed during the incident — away from the scene. The two of them provided first aid to the woman.

The other officers at the scene helped the three other women and tracked down two people responsible for the stabbings.

Amaro said, “We just happened to be the people on duty that day and asked to investigate it. We’re happy it all turned out well.”

Dante Sweat and his mother Desiree Richmond were both charged with crimes related to the incident.

Sweat pleaded guilty to first-degree burglary, four counts of second-degree attempted murder, three counts of first-degree assault, first-degree unlawful imprisonment, and five counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

Richmond plead guilty to first-degree burglary and endangering the welfare of a child.

Deputy District Attorney Andrew Bonavia said the officers’ work was essential to building a solid case against the defendants.
Deputy District Attorney Andrew Bonavia said the officers’ work was essential to building a solid case against the defendants.

Deputy District Attorney Andrew Bonavia said the officers’ work was essential to building a solid case against the defendants.

“I’m blown away by how everybody cooperated here. Everybody worked together. They saved people’s lives,” he said.

At least seven agencies — including the New York State Police, Cayuga Heights Police Department, Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office and New York State’s Environmental Conservation Police Officers, Bangs Ambulance and Ithaca Fire Department— responded to the scene.

“This is the reality…how much these guys care about the community,” Bonavia said.

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Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at jalmendarez@ithacavoice.com; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.