A manhunt is reportedly underway in Brooklyn after an off-duty officer was shot in the head during a social media sale turned robbery leaving him fighting for his life.
The as yet unnamed 26-year-old NYPD officer was reportedly accompanying his brother in the neighborhood of East New York Saturday to purchase a car through the Facebook marketplace. “Almost immediately” the suspect pulled a gun and “announced a robbery,” NYPD Assistant Police Chief Michael Baldassano told reporters at a press conference.
The officer, a father of two, was struck in the head after he pulled his own firearm and gunfire was exchanged. At that point, his brother picked up the gun and continued to fire at the fleeing suspect.
Watch live as Police Commissioner Sewell & Mayor Adams provide an update on a police investigation in Brooklyn. https://t.co/CEIBPcvIP3
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) February 5, 2023
Following the incident, the officer, a five year veteran with the force since 2017, was transported to Brookdale Hospital in critical condition. A witness to the assault and attempted robbery identified as Genesis to the New York Post, “I saw a person wearing a black hoodie, black top and gray sweats shooting, like he was ducking in front of a car outside my house. It looked like he was shooting back and forth at someone.”
“[The suspect] kept shooting…After the last shot, I saw him running towards McDonalds and I looked away,” the witness added.
Along with Baldassano, NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell, Mayor Eric Adams (D), and NYPD Police Benevolent Association (PBA) president Pat Lynch spoke at Saturday’s press conference.
Adams wasted no time in making the incident specifically about guns rather than the broader problem of violent crime and said, “An officer conducting a simple errand and a dangerous person pulled out a firearm. As we see so often in this city, too many illegal guns are in the hands of bad people and doing bad things.”
He later said “This dangerous person must be removed off our streets,” and added, “We will catch the person responsible for this act.”
Lynch found fault in the legislators for failing to pass laws that his organization has insisted would help alleviate the problem. “You’re living in a fantasy world. You want to see the reality? Look at the devastation those rounds caused to that young man’s body. Listen to the cries of the wife, a father, a mother, their children.”
“That’s the reality. It’s causing devastation. This has to end. We can’t keep going to hospital emergency rooms and asking for prayers. Yes we need prayers, but we need more. We need our legislators to sit down now, understand that they were wrong. It’s not a fantasy, it’s devastation, it’s real, it’s humans, it’s cops, it’s families.”
Limited details were provided about the identity of the suspect who was described as a bearded man in his 20s who fled in a dark vehicle with tinted windows. However, officials expressed that they believe they know they identity of the suspect based on Facebook marketplace activity and that they may have been behind other robberies setup through the social media page.
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