Two suspects were arrested in connection to the shooting, NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said during a news conference early Wednesday morning.
The officer who was injured was stable, officials said. He is the sixth NYPD officer injured by gun violence so far this year, including two who were killed while responding to a domestic disturbance call in Harlem last month.
“This young man was on his way to work. On his way to protect New Yorkers from criminals, like the two who were arrested today,” Sewell said. “The police department is well past standing at podiums telling people there are too many illegal guns on the street and far too many people carrying them ready to pull the trigger.”
Tuesday night’s shooting unfolded around 10:18 p.m. when the 22-year-old officer was stopped at a traffic light in his personal vehicle. Two men walked up to the vehicle and tapped on the driver’s side window with a gun, NYPD Chief Kenneth Corey said.
After the off-duty officer got out of the vehicle, one of the men fired several shots, hitting him in the shoulder, Corey said. The officer returned fire and did not hit anyone. The men ran off as uniformed officers who heard the gunfire rushed to the scene, where they rendered aid and radioed a description of the suspects, Corey explained.
Three blocks away, uniformed Public Safety Team officers saw two men who fit the description, but as the officers got out of their car to stop the men, the suspects fired a shot at the officers, hitting the rear bumper of their unmarked car, Corey said.
“The officers exercised great restraint and did not return fire, and I want to emphasize that. These officers are being fired at and did not shoot back. Instead, they chased the suspects on foot and apprehended the two of them a short distance away without further incident, where a firearm was also recovered,” Corey said at the news conference.
New York mayor to talk gun violence with President Biden
New York Mayor Eric Adams also praised the arresting officers’ restraint, while noting gun violence affects civilians and officers in the city.
“The conversation we have been having over and over again — local proliferation of guns, ready to use them on individuals in blue uniforms or blue jeans,” Adams said.
Adams, a former police captain who became mayor in January, said he will speak to President Joe Biden about gun violence in the city when he visits Thursday.
“We’re going to have the President of the United States here in this city, and we’re going to lay out clear items we need on the federal level, just as we did with state lawmakers. Everyone must be on the same team,” Adams said.
Tuesday night’s shooting came less than two weeks after NYPD officers Jason Rivera, 22, and Wilbert Mora, 27, were fatally shot after a woman called police to report she was having a dispute with one of her sons inside her apartment, police said. The suspect in the shooting was armed with a stolen gun, officials said.
Following the shooting in Harlem, Adams laid out an anti-gun violence plan that includes the introduction of a “newer version of modified plainclothes anti-gun unit,” the original version of which was disbanded in 2020 after being marked by allegations of aggressive tactics and police brutality.
Critics had derided the plainclothes units as counterproductive and argued they were a relic of the stop-and-frisk era of policing that more negatively affected Black and brown communities.
The officers in the new unit won’t wear uniforms but will wear jackets with police insignia, a slight departure from the past where officers were required to wear the shield identifying themselves as officers outside their outermost layer of clothing.