One NYPD officer was killed and eight other officers injured when a police van crashed Sunday morning in the Bronx.
Police identified the officer who died as Michael Williams, 25, of the Bronx. He was taken to Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx where he was pronounced dead from his injuries just before 6 a.m., police said.
The nine officers were in a marked police van that crashed just after 5 a.m. on westbound Bruckner Boulevard near Bryant Avenue in the Hunts Point neighborhood, Lt. Thomas Antonetti said.
The other eight officers, some seriously injured, were taken to Lincoln, St. Barnabas Hospital and Jacobi Medical Center. One officer remained in critical condition at Lincoln Hospital.
NYPD Chief Philip Banks and police union president Patrick Lynch identified Williams during a news conference outside Lincoln Hospital Sunday afternoon. Williams' body was moved from the hospital on a stretcher as dozens of uniformed officers lined up to salute the procession.
"It's a profound tragedy and my heart goes out to his family," Mayor Bill de Blasio said before going to the 47th Precinct in the Bronx where all of the officers were assigned. "It's just a very painful day."
Williams had just graduated from the police academy in January. De Blasio attended the graduation, the mayor said.
Williams' father, Michael, was also a police officer, with the upstate Carmel police department. Banks said after speaking with Williams' parents, he learned that when Williams took the test, he said he hoped the hiring process wouldn't be too long so he could get to work.
"That's all he ever wanted to do is become a police officer," Banks said. "It was a dream come true that he was able to serve in the department."
Williams was sitting in the back of the 2009 Ford Econoline, when the 12-passenger van crashed into a Jersey barrier along the Bruckner Expressway. Williams was ejected through the back window, police said in a statement. No other vehicles were involved.
The officers were heading to special detail for Monday's General Assembly at the United Nations and a climate change march in Manhattan Sunday when the van crashed along the side road, police said.
Police are investigating if the rainy weather or speed played a factor in the crash, and if Williams was wearing a seat belt, Banks said.
"Today's going to be a difficult day for all New York City police officers," said Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association. "This morning, they woke up to go out and do a job that's difficult but very important: to protect people's right to protest, and even with that, we have a police officer that lost their life.
"So in the next number of days, you're going to see police officers exhausted from doing a difficult job, but they're going to square their shoulders, wipe their tears to show respect for this police officer and his family."