Shootout with cops in Bronx leaves armed graffiti vandal critically injured

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Chief of Department Terence Monahan and Chief of Patrol Juanita Holmes at a press conference at the 40th Precinct stationhouse on Feb. 21, 2021.
Screenshot from video courtesy of NYPD

An alleged teenage graffiti vandal in the Bronx was shot and critically injured by police officers after he tried to shoot the cop who attempted to arrest him early Sunday morning, police reported.

None of the officers were injured in the shootout that occurred just after 12:35 a.m. on Feb. 21 in the vicinity of 677 Elton Ave. in the Melrose section of the Bronx.

Chief of Department Terence Monahan outlined preliminary details about the incident during a 4 a.m. press conference at the 40th Precinct stationhouse. 

The trouble began, Monahan said, when three members of the precinct — a sergeant and two officers — spotted two individuals spray-painting graffiti at the Elton Avenue location while on routine patrol. 

The officers got out of their vehicles and approached the suspects, both of whom took off on foot. Officers were able grab one of them, an 18-year-old man, while the other suspect got away.

But the perpetrator they nabbed, Monahan noted, had other ideas.

“As the officer struggled with the man in an attempt to arrest him, the suspect pulled out semi-automatic handgun and fired at least three times at the officers,” Monahan told reporters. “It was then that all three officers engaged the man returning fire — striking him numerous times.”

EMS units wound up rushing the injured suspect to Lincoln Hospital, where he’s listed in critical condition. The officers involved in the shootout were evaluated at a local hospital, but were not injured, the chief noted.

Police recovered the suspect’s .22-caliber handgun, which apparently was struck in the hail of bullets and significantly damaged. 

The damaged .22-caliber gunPhoto courtesy of NYPD

Monahan said he viewed the bodycam footage from the officers’ involved in the shootout. That video has also been presented to the Force Investigation Division, which is conducting an ongoing investigation.

“Tonight’s shooting underscores the dangers our brave cops face every day as they keep people safe,” Monahan added. “Whether they are stopping someone who is making graffiti or responding to a known shooting — there are too many guns on the streets of New York City.”

Meanwhile, cops are still looking for the second suspected graffiti vandal. Anyone with information about their whereabouts can call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (for Spanish, dial 888-57-PISTA). You can also submit tips online at nypdcrimestoppers.com, or on Twitter @NYPDTips. All calls and messages are kept confidential.