By Robert Pozarycki
Charges are pending against a 24-year-old man accused of shooting and wounding a police officer during a gun battle on a Bronx street Tuesday night.
The injured officer, a 31-year-old man assigned to the NYPD Gun Violence Suppression Division, and his partner stopped the suspect along Lafayette Avenue near White Plains Road in Castle Hill at about 10:29 p.m. on Jan. 26.
Within seconds, according to Police Commissioner Dermot Shea, the suspect engaged the officers in a gunfight. What exactly triggered the shootout remains unknown at this time, and under investigation.
“In the course of seconds, what we know is that our officer, we believe, fired one round. We believe the perpetrator fired four rounds, and during that exchange of gunfire, our officer was struck one time in the back, below his bulletproof vest,” Shea said during a press conference early Wednesday morning at Jacobi Hospital.
The injured officer was rushed to Jacobi Hospital, where he was treated for an injury that was not considered life-threatening. Shea, along with Mayor Bill de Blasio, Chief of Department Terence Monahan and Chief of Patrol Juanita Holmes, met with the injured officer and members of his family afterward.
“I can tell you that he’s in a lot of pain, but thankfully, we expect him to make a full recovery,” Shea added.
The injured officer has been with the NYPD for 6 1/2 years and comes from a family of police officers, according to de Blasio. The Gun Violence Suppression Division, according to the NYPD, “identifies individuals and organizations responsible for the trafficking and sale of illegal firearms in New York City and dismantles them.”
Division members employ a number of tactics in catching gun criminals, including using undercover officers and confidential informants.
“Tonight, we saw extraordinary bravery,” de Blasio said. “Here is an officer, a young officer, out there on the streets of the Bronx getting guns off the streets to save lives. That’s what he does. he’s someone who goes out and puts his life on the line to protect other people in the most powerful way — by depriving criminals of their firearms.”
Meanwhile, the 24-year-old suspect was taken into custody uninjured. Police recovered the gun he used at the crime scene. According to Shea, the perpetrator has a prior criminal record, including several arrests in New York City and New Jersey.
Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said her office is examining the case to determine the appropriate charges her prosecutors would seek against the gunman.
The investigation remains ongoing, with the NYPD Detectives Bureau and Force Investigation Division among the participating bureaus.
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) January 27, 2021