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Afghan Bombing Victim: 'Superman' NYPD Detective

Joseph Lemm 'epitomized the selflessness we can only strive for'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 22, 2015 6:08 AM CST
Updated Dec 22, 2015 6:44 AM CST
Afghan Bombing Victim: 'Superman' NYPD Detective
This photo shows NYPD Detective Joseph Lemm.   (New York City Police Department via AP)

An NYPD detective nicknamed "Superman" was among the victims of the largest attack on foreign troops in Afghanistan since August. Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Joseph Lemm, a 15-year NYPD veteran who was on his third tour overseas, was one of six people killed when a suicide bomber on a motorcycle laden with explosives targeted an American-Afghan patrol near Bagram Airfield, reports the New York Daily News. Two US troops and an Afghan—identified as an interpreter, per NBC News—were wounded. The father of two "epitomized the selflessness we can only strive for: putting his country and city first," says Police Commissioner Bill Bratton. "We grieve and we remember this selfless public servant who dedicated his life to protecting others."

Lemm was on his second tour in Afghanistan and previously served in Iraq in 2011. But he was known for his service even when off the clock. In December 2005, he helped apprehend two of three teens he saw running from the scene of a stabbing and was nominated for a Post Liberty Medal, reports the New York Post. "Everyone is in shock," says a colleague, noting Lemm earned the nickname "Superman" because he was a "strong, strapping guy" who "looked like Clark Kent." He was "a great man and a great friend. He was full of life," a friend adds. In 2013, Lemm surprised his family by returning from a 10-month tour in Afghanistan to watch his teenage daughter, Brook, sing in a competition, reports News12. Brook is now 17, while Lemm's son, Ryan, is 4. He's also survived by wife Christine. (More NYPD stories.)

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