Charges are now pending against the 26-year-old man accused of shooting an NYPD officer Wednesday night.
The suspect wounded Police Officer Brian McGurran as he allegedly fired at him and two of his colleagues assigned to the 81st Precinct during an attempted stop near Saratoga Park, at the corner of Macon Street and Howard Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
According to Police Commissioner Dermot Shea, the 81st Precinct members were on patrol inside an unmarked vehicle just after 11:15 p.m. on May 12 when they observed the gunman acting suspiciously near the park. The incident happened only moments after a deadly shooting four blocks away in Bushwick; police are investigating whether the gunman is connected to that incident.
“The officers stop, get out to investigate, and immediately the male pulls a firearm, turns on the officers and begins to shoot,” Shea said in describing the incident early Wednesday morning at Kings County Hospital.
McGurran, a four-year NYPD veteran, was hit once in the chest but was saved from a potentially lethal injury by his bulletproof vest. He was also struck in the right leg and buttocks.
According to Shea, McGurran and one of his colleagues managed to return fire, blasting a combined 21 shots at the suspect. One of the bullets hit the perpetrator in the leg; no other injuries were reported.
Police were able to take the wounded suspect into custody, and his weapon — a 9 mm Taurus — was recovered from the scene. Shea said the shooter is a gang member known to the department.
EMS rushed McGurran to Kings County Hospital for treatment of his injuries, and he was released Thursday afternoon.
During the wee hours Thursday morning, Shea and Mayor Bill de Blasio had visited the officer at the hospital and thanked the staff there for treating him.
But the commissioner realized just how lucky the NYPD is that the incident didn’t end in tragedy.
“Again, we find ourselves at a hospital in the middle of the night with another example of our brave officers out there fighting crime and keeping New Yorkers safe,” he said Thursday. “It’s by the grace of God that we’re not about to start planning for a second funeral in one month.”
Shea referred to the death of Police Officer Anastasios Tsakos, an NYPD Highway Patrol member fatally struck by an alleged drunk driver on the Long Island Expressway in Queens last month.
De Blasio acknowledged that the 81st Precinct officers were part of an increased police effort in the community to combat the ongoing spike in shootings. Across the city, shootings have surged by 166% over the last month, according to the latest NYPD data.
“It’s also important to note that the strategies of the NYPD had these officers in a location because of previous activity in the area,” de Blasio said. “In fact, that was exactly where the officers needed to be to stop further violence.”
Possible connection to murder
Many of the incidents have been gang related, and Shea indicated there might be a connection between the shooter who injured McGurran and the deadly shooting in Bushwick moments earlier.
In that incident, police sources said, an unidentified suspect ambushed three men inside a white BMW SUV near the corner of Madison Street and Broadway at about 11:11 p.m. on May 12.
Cops reported that the perpetrator ran up to the vehicle and began firing at the individuals inside. Shea said that the vehicle crashed moments after the suspect fled the scene.
Officers from the 83rd Precinct responded to a 911 call about the shooting and found, inside of the SUV, a 21-year-old man shot in the torso and leg, and a 28-year-old man shot in the torso. The third victim, not identified, was not injured.
EMS rushed the 28-year-old man to Woodhull Hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later. The 21-year-old man was listed in critical condition at Kings County Hospital. The third occupant was not injured.
“It’s interesting to note that all three are known to police,” the commissioner added. “All three have an extensive arrest history, and are gang members with open gun cases.”
The two shootings in Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant prompted a massive police response that went on through the night. Shea cautioned that the investigation remains “extremely active,” and details are subject to change in the days to come.