City officials breathed a sigh of relief Wednesday night after two police officers injured in a shootout with an armed suspect in the Bronx escaped with injuries not considered life-threatening.
The gunman, whom Police Commissioner Dermot Shea noted has a lengthy rap sheet but had been walking the streets anyway, is recovering as well, with criminal charges pending against him.
Cops said the violence erupted at about 8:03 p.m. on Nov. 24 in the vicinity of East 187th Street and Beaumont Avenue in Belmont.
According to authorities, officers from the 48th Precinct responded to an apartment nearby after receiving a 911 call about a man armed with a gun.
“A member of the community got involved, called 911, giving a pretty detailed description of an individual armed with firearm,” Shea said during a press conference at St. Barnabas Hospital, where the injured officers and suspect had been taken. “Within seconds, they are in a gun battle.”
Based on a preliminary investigation, police determined that the two officers — a female officer with one year on the job, and a male cop with eight years with the NYPD — approached the suspect as he sat on the stoop of a Beaumont Avenue apartment building. Shea said the male officer ordered the perpetrator to remove his hands from his pockets.
That command, Shea reported, prompted the suspect to pull out his hands, display a firearm and begin shooting. He fired four shots in all, two of which struck the female officer in the right arm.
A third shot, the commissioner noted, struck the male officer in the right armpit during a physical struggle with the gunman. The bullet exited from the left side of the officer’s chest — narrowly missing vital organs by mere inches.
The commissioner displayed the officer’s uniform shirt, and the bullet hole where he had been struck. (Video by Adrian Childress)
The female officer managed to fire off five shots at the perpetrator, hitting him three times in the torso, Shea added.
EMS rushed both officers to St. Barnabas Hospital, and they are expected to survive, according to Shea. Despite the ordeal, Shea and Mayor Bill de Blasio noted, the officers are in good spirits, grateful on Thanksgiving Eve to have been spared a more tragic fate.
“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.”
The gunman, whose name has been withheld pending the ongoing investigation, is now recovering from emergency surgery at St. Barnabas Hospital and is also expected to make a recovery.
Investigators recovered the firearm that the shooter allegedly used at the scene, sources said.
A check of the gunman’s record revealed a lengthy prior criminal history, Shea noted. The episode prompted the commissioner to again call on state lawmakers to tighten bail laws and enable judges to keep suspects arrested for gun offenses locked up in jail, rather than let loose on little to no bail mere hours after their arrests.
“I would point out that, it would appear to me, that the community is doing their job by calling the police. We have two incredibly brave officers doing their job and not complaining a bit, eager to get back to work and loving what they do,” the commissioner said. “It’s time for the rest of the system to do its job and make the streets as safe as they can be. … If that doesn’t tell you we have to take a second look, there is no fear on the streets right now. We can take guns off the streets and fill up truckloads. Until we take them off the streets, we’re going to have tragedy.”
City Council Member Oswald Feliz, who represents the area, posted a photo of the crime scene on his Twitter account, and said he was “grateful” for the cops who “risk their lives to keep us safe.”
Cop shot at in my district, right before Thanksgiving. As someone who reps a high-crime district, will always be grateful for the @NYPDnews. While “politicians” who live in crime-free neighborhoods attack them for corny political points, cops risk their lives to keep us safe. pic.twitter.com/yTSZrXnzvM
— Oswald Feliz (@OswaldFeliz) November 25, 2021
This is a developing story; check amNY.com later for further updates.