Paralyzed former LAPD officer takes on a new challenge in endurance bike race for charity
Kristina Ripatti, a former Los Angeles Police Department officer who was shot and paralyzed in the line of duty in 2006, is training for a new challenge -- the 3,000-mile Race Across America.
Competing as part of a four-person relay team in June, Ripatti, 37, will help raise money for Operation Progress. Founded by LAPD Officer John Coughlin, the charity provides college scholarships for youths in gang-infested areas.
Ripatti, using a hand cycle, and her team must complete the Oceanside-to-Annapolis trek within 216 hours, about nine days. Her husband, LAPD gang officer Tim Pearce, will be part of her crew during the round-the-clock race.
Ripatti was paralyzed from the waist down after being shot by a man who had just robbed a gas station in South Los Angeles on June 3, 2006.
It won't be the first time that Ripatti has used her hand cycle to raise money for Operation Progress: Last year she completed the Boston Marathon. She and Pearce have long been involved with the charity, which they see as a way of helping youths who resist the constant pressures to join gangs. The organization already has helped send 35 high school students to college.
-- Jean Merl
Photo: Ripatti leaving the hospital. Los Angeles Times