Two New York City police officers were shot and wounded in the line of duty late Thursday evening by a gunman who then reportedly used the same gun to kill himself afterwards.
The officers are said to have been in the process of completing a drug-related investigation at the Melrose Houses complex in the Bronx when they encountered two suspects on the sixth floor of the apartment building at approximately 8 p.m. According to the information released by the police, one of the persons pulled a gun, opening fire on both the officers, shooting one in the abdomen and the other officer was struck in the face by the bullet. Neither officer had fired their own guns.
First Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Tucker held a press conference at Lincoln Hospital after the shooting on Thursday night where he advised the details of the shooting of the two police officers. The names of the two officers who were shot have not been released, but it was a 24-year-old female cop who was shot in the abdomen, reportedly just below her bullet proof vest, and a 29-year-old male officer who was shot in the face. Both officers had been assigned to the Housing Bureau, and have been a part of the police force for about two years.
After shooting the two NYPD officers the gunman then fled to the seventh floor where other officers responding to the scene discovered the gunman’s body along with semi-automatic 32-caliber handgun and a shotgun. The gunman is believed to have committed suicide by shooting and killing himself in the apartment after declaring to the four persons in the seventh floor apartment that he had just shot a policewoman but had no plans of going back to jail. FoxNews reported that the second person who the two wounded officers had encountered was taken into police custody, along with the persons who were in the room where the gunman committed suicide.
The wounded officers were rushed to Lincoln Hospital, the site of the press conference, while numerous other police officers turned out to the scene of the shooting and ongoing investigation. An old model white Honda with Pennsylvania plates that had been parked outside of the housing complex is being investigated by the New York Police Department.
The New York Daily News confirmed reports that at the time of the shooting Mayor de Blasio had been less than five miles from the crime scene giving his “State of the City” address at Lehman College and was told of the incident immediately after his speech ended. Mayor de Blasio then headed to Lincoln Hospital and met with the family of one of the officers and relayed his best wishes. The female officer underwent surgery and both of them are reported to be in stable condition.
“Our brave officers were doing their jobs tonight in our public housing on patrol keeping residents safe. Both officers are alert and communicating, and we are praying for the best here.”
Patrick Lynch, head of the police officers’ union, said that the shooting highlights the difficulty and danger involved in vertical patrols, which is when pairs of officers walk the stairwells of a public housing project all the way to the roof and back down to the lobby where they started.
“We need your support to teach our young folks that pulling a gun on a police officer works for no one. This goes to show the dangers police officers face each and every day.”
[Photo Courtesy of Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images]