An off-duty NYPD lieutenant remains in critical but stable condition after being seriously injured in a Queens shootout early Thursday morning that stemmed from an apparent robbery attempt, police officials reported.
One of three suspects involved in the shootout has died of his injuries, and police are now looking for two others connected to the incident, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said.
Shea outlined the preliminary details about the shooting, which occurred at 3:09 a.m. on Dec. 16 in the vicinity of Northern Boulevard and 57th Street in Woodside, during a press conference at Elmhurst Hospital, where the lieutenant is recovering.
“He has multiple gunshot wounds, and he’s lucky to be alive,” the commissioner said of the lieutenant. “We would have a very different outcome if not for the FDNY paramedics. They did incredible work on the street to get him here, and Elmhurst Hospital took it from there.”
Based on the preliminary investigation, detectives determined that the off-duty lieutenant had visited the La Boom nightclub, located a few steps from where the shooting occurred, shortly after going off-duty from his afternoon tour. Hip-hop star Mikey Torres had been performing at the venue.
“At some point, [the lieutenant] exits the club and is confronted by several armed individuals wearing masks,” Shea said. “We believe they were attempting to rob him of jewelry.”
A witness told police that three suspects, all wearing ski masks and displaying firearms, had confronted the lieutenant. Within seconds, the robbery escalated into a firefight.
Preliminarily, police believe the lieutenant fired eight shots, while the suspects fired nine. “Ballistics and video will come together, and we’ll get a clearer picture on that,” Shea added.
Two of the suspects fled the scene inside an unknown vehicle while their cohort and the lieutenant lay wounded on the street, each of them shot multiple times.
Officers from the 114th Precinct came upon the scene and called for assistance. Quick-responding FDNY paramedics swiftly administered aid, undoubtedly saving the lieutenant’s life, the commissioner noted.
But their efforts could not save the unidentified suspect, who suffered bullet wounds to his chest and stomach, and died at Elmhurst Hospital.
Police have withheld his identity, pending family notification and the ongoing investigation. Shea said the deceased suspect has one prior arrest in New York City, for gang assault, on his record.
The perpetrator’s semi-automatic handgun, which was fitted with an extended magazine, was recovered at the scene.
The lieutenant was conscious when Shea and other NYPD brass visited him at the medical center, the commissioner said.
“He’s in our thoughts and prayers, and we’re hoping for a strong recovery,” Shea added.
Meanwhile, detectives continue to search for the two other suspects involved in the shootout. They’re also looking into a possible link to an active robbery pattern involving suspects following patrons out of nightclubs and robbing them for their jewelry.
The investigation remains active and ongoing, and anyone with information about the shootout can call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (for Spanish, dial 888-57-PISTA). You can also submit tips online at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, or on Twitter @NYPDTips. All calls and messages are kept confidential.