Ex-cop invents body armor for cars that could save lives

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9 p.m. Extra: Vehicle Armor

It was a scene that no one will forget in north Hollywood back in 1997 when two heavily-armored bank robbers with AK-47's opened fire injuring several Los Angeles police officers and civilians.

While the only two killed that day were the suspects, it sparked a debate on the firearms they had and the ones patrol officers did not.

Fred Howard, a former police officers, says, "The notorious Hollywood shooting is one example of a system, if we had a system, that could of I think reduced injury that were a result of that confrontation." He adds, "Right here the officers pull up and engage the bad guy right here. As you can see, there is no cover here. How much better would it have been to have something like this?"

Howard believes another level of protection the officers could have used that day is his invention, the Phoenix Centurion Rapid Deployment Vehicle Armor System, which is body armor for cars.

Howard explains, "It's a detachable armor system that can be opened remotely. It can be put in your trunk. It can be formed as part of the vehicle. It can act as a command post and it can act as an obstructive point, it's just multi-faceted." He goes on to show 3TV a part that, "Will reduce visibility, so you're not a target. It will protect your feet. You can make it different lengths so there all kinds of applications for the Phoenix Centurion."

The product, which is made of ballistic material, is still in the beginning stages.

While you can get a miniature prototype that Howard sells now, he is hoping someone will want to help him take the Phoenix Centurion mainstream.

Howard believes it will not only benefit law enforcement but also the military and even Homeland Security.

Howard says, "It's not designed to stop every bullet in the world. It's not going to give you 100% protection, but it's going to give you more than your standard officer has."

He decided to test out the material at Shooter's World in Phoenix. He explains, "What you're seeing now is the raw material, the actually steel it's composed of so it looks different, but it's the same material in the centurion."

Howard adds, "As you can see if you can look close there are different spatters and what those are, are lead in the bullets exploding and there was no penetration or dent with any of the handguns whatsoever in the armor."

Howard says only a small dent was made with the AK-47. If you take a look at what happens when shots are fired into a vehicle without the armor, you think what the consequences could have been if it had been more than a test."

Howard admits, "Phoenix Centurion will succeed if it just saves one life, ok, but nothing costs more than a life lost, so it will be successful."

If you would like to find out more information about this body armor for cars or you are interested in investing with the company, you can contact Fred Howard at Phoenix Centurion Rapid Deployment Vehicle Armor by emailing him at or log on to .