The search continues for a gunman who shot a police officer on a Bronx street Saturday night.
The injured officer sustained a gunshot wound to his neck, and is now recovering at Lincoln Hospital. Both Police Commissioner Dermot Shea and Mayor Bill de Blasio described the incident as a brazen “assassination attempt” of two police officers.
Law enforcement sources said the shooting occurred at about 8:27 p.m. Saturday night as the injured officer and his partner sat inside a marked NYPD van with its emergency lights activated in front of 906 Simpson St.
“They were there in the 41st Precinct to keep residents safe because of recent drug activity, as well as violence in the area,” Shea said.
According to police, the gunman approached the vehicle and engaged in conversation. Moments later, he pulled out a firearm and began shooting.
“Without provocation, the man pulls out a gun. The operator of the van yells, ‘Gun!,’ and immediately attempts to put the car into drive and pull away,” Shea said. “Multiple shots were fired by the perp at close proximity to the van. At least one, possibly two [shots] struck the operator of the van. One struck him in the chin, one struck him in the neck, narrowly missing the carotid [artery].”
The injured officer managed to drive away from the gunfire, law enforcement sources said. The gunman fled in an unknown direction.
Doctors at Lincoln Hospital treated the injured officer for his injuries and held him under observation overnight. He’s expected to be sent home Sunday — something that Shea and de Blasio said was nothing short of a miracle.
The officer’s partner was not injured. Shea noted that the two men each have been on the force for eight years, and have been friends since middle school.
But both Shea and de Blasio, along with Policemen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch, expressed their outrage over the assassination attempt.
“I want New Yorkers to be clear: this was an attempt to assassinate police officers. This is absolutely unacceptable in this city or any place,” de Blasio said. “But I have to say there is too much hatred out there in general, and too much hatred being directed at our officers, and it has to end.”
Without saying it specifically, Lynch seemed to suggest that the recently enacted bail reform law had made the city’s streets more unsafe not just for New Yorkers, but also for cops.
“Our elected officials, Albany, in the city, have to now recognize the dangerous the streets are and start working with us to make sure people like this don’t walk our streets,” he said. “This police department will use all its resources to make sure we bring this person to justice. We hope the courts have the laws that allow them to get justice.”
Cops described the suspected shooter as a man between 20 and 30 years of age, wearing a black jacket. A $12,500 reward is being offered for information leading to his arrest and conviction.
Anyone with information regarding his whereabouts can call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (for Spanish, dial 888-57-PISTA), visit the Crime Stoppers website or send a direct message on Twitter @NYPDTips. All calls and messages are kept confidential.