VAN BUREN, Arkansas — It was the key to life.
An Arkansas police officer narrowly escaped death when a bullet fired at him struck his handcuff keys in his shirt pocket, deflecting the slug into his bulletproof vest, authorities said.
The chilling episode unfolded during a domestic dispute call in Van Buren between a husband and wife.
Two Van Buren Police officers arrived at the house and began speaking to the husband, Johnny Fisher, 68, and asked him to step outside, but he refused, the Arkansas State Police said.
Fisher, who was standing with one of the officers, then pulled out two guns. When the second officer entered the room. Fisher pointed the guns at him and fired, prompting both cops to return fire, killing Fisher.
One of the bullets Fisher fired struck one of the officers in the chest, but the handcuff key in his pocket miraculously save his life, according to KHBS-TV.
The officer was taken to a local hospital and was later released with bruising to his chest. The second officer was unhurt.
Both officers have been put on administrative leave as the state police investigates the fatal shooting.