DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It was a scene that had been repeated 14 times this year in Dallas — a police officer shoots a suspect. But this time there is praise instead of protests. It’s a different kind of reaction than has been seen recently.

The family of a young woman says a Dallas police officer, who opened fire on a suspect, may have saved their loved one’s life.

The officer is being called a “hero.”

CBS 11 News has learned the suspect and victim knew each other. Both the suspect and the shooting victim were inside vehicles when the incident happened. There were other people in the cars when the shooting started and police have questions about their involvement.

But this latest police shooting apparently almost took a life, to save one.

Off-duty police Officer Ruben Martinez had his family in the car with him Thursday evening, when he pulled his weapon and started shooting 20-year-old Ladarius Campbell.

Martinez reportedly did it, to save the life of Lillian Lockhart’s sister. On Friday Lillian had a message for Officer Martinez. “I just want to thank him, because like I was saying before, basically the story would have still been untold.”

Lillian Lockhart’s sister, 33-year-old Laquita Stewart, is recovering from a gunshot to the face.

According to police, Ladarius Campbell shot Stewart during a confrontation in the 2400 block of 52nd Street, outside of Harry Stone Montessori Academy in east Oak Cliff.

Officer Martinez happened to be at an intersection; at the same time Campbell allegedly attacked and shot Stewart.

Major Rob Sherman, with Dallas police, recalled events as investigators have determined. “The officer engages Mr. Campbell because he sees Mr. Campbell, this is according to witnesses, that he sees him shoot this woman in the face.”

That version of events is also what the family of Laquita Stewart has been told. Today they are eternally grateful for the actions of Officer Martinez. “He was doing his job, as a civilian or as an officer, and I really do appreciate him for that,” Lillian Lockhart said emotionally.

Dallas Officer-Involved Shooting

CBS 11 obtained a cell phone picture of what witnesses say is Officer Martinez , holding his badge in one hand and his gun in the other, as he confronted the suspect. The photograph has not been authenticated.

Both Laquita Stewart and Ladarius Campbell remain hospitalized.

Officer Martinez has been placed on administrative leave, pending investigation of the shooting.

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