A Brooklyn man is being charged with the attempted murder of two Bronx NYPD officers that occurred on Thanksgiving Eve in the Belmont section of the Bronx.
Charlie Vazquez, 23, is also facing other charges including assault, criminal use of a firearm, criminal possession of a weapon, and reckless endangerment when police were sent to Beaumont Avenue and East 187th Street just after 8:03 p.m., following a 911 call regarding a man armed with a gun.
According to NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea, two officers encountered Vazquez, who was armed and sitting on the front stoop of an apartment building. Shea said it took “seconds” for the encounter to turn violent.
“As the male officer opens the front gate, he’s speaking to the individual and he immediately says, ‘Can you take your hands out of your pockets?’ As he takes a step toward him, the individual stands up, the gun comes out, and the shots are fired,” Shea said during a press conference at St. Barnabas Hospital on Nov. 24.
A struggle ensued between one of the responding officers Robert Holmes and Vazquez, as Alejandra Jacobs, the other officer on the scene, pulled out her gun and fired off bullets in their direction, surveillance video of the incident shows.
According to police, Vazquez fired four shots, while the Jacobs fired five before being struck twice in the right arm. Vazquez suffered three wounds to the chest and received emergency surgery at St. Barnabas Hospital.
Holmes, an officer with eight years on the job, was shot in the right armpit, according to police.
Jacobs was discharged from the St. Barnabas Hospital on Thanksgiving morning, while Holmes was released on Friday, Nov. 26.
A court date for Vazquez — who Shea said has a lengthy rap sheet that includes nine prior arrests — has not yet been set. The gun Vazquez used in the shooting was reportedly stolen from Georgia a year ago, police said.
Police are still investigating if Holmes’ injuries were a result of friendly fire. Outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, lauded the two officers for their courage as the events of the night unfolded.
“We saw extraordinary courage on display tonight. We looked at the video, we saw officers doing their job, protecting the city with incredible bravery,” de Blasio said, referring to bodycam footage of the incident which the officers had recorded. “I want to give thanks for these officers, all the men and women of the NYPD who protect us. We all need to count our blessings now.”
Reach Robbie Sequeira at firstname.lastname@example.org or (718) 260-4599. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter @bronxtimes and Facebook @bronxtimes.