updated 7/14/2007 10:24:40 PM ET 2007-07-15T02:24:40

An officer shot in the face during a traffic stop died Saturday, and the suspected gunmen now face murder charges, officials said.

Russel Timoshenko, 23, died at a hospital of injuries suffered early Monday after he and his partner stopped a stolen SUV in Brooklyn, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.

Timoshenko had been paralyzed, suffered brain swelling and was unable to breathe on his own. His partner, Herman Yan, who was saved by his bullet-resistant vest, was released from a hospital Tuesday.

Two suspects captured in Pennsylvania were charged in the assault; a third man suspected of driving the getaway car is being held in New York.

Authorities say the three suspects were in a stolen SUV when police pulled the vehicle over early Monday. As the two officers approached the vehicle, one shot Timoshenko with a pistol, and another fired on Yan with a semiautomatic handgun, police said.

The suspected gunmen face charges of first-degree murder and could be sentenced to life in prison without parole if convicted, the Brooklyn district attorney’s office.

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