Bronx, NY – A New York police officer was shot by a 16-year-old gang member while responding to a report of a disorderly group of people at a residence on Tuesday night.
A group of six uniformed officers in two unmarked patrol vehicles were working in the Belmont section near East 187th Street and Lorillard Place, which is fraught with gang activity and drugs, New York Police Department (NYPD) Chief of Detectives James Essig told WCBS.
As they approached a home on Lorillard Place to address a group of at least seven disorderly individuals at about 9:30 p.m., they spotted a 16-year-old male near a parked car shoving his hands into his pockets, according to police.
The officers ordered him to remove his hands, but he refused and began physically fighting with them, NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell told WCBS.
That’s when a gunshot rang out.
Commissioner Sewell said the teen fired a single round during the brawl, shooting himself in his left groin area, WCBS reported.
The bullet traveled through the suspect and hit one of the officers in his right leg, according to the commissioner.
The officer and the suspect were both rushed to St. Barnabas Hospital.
Both are expected to make full recoveries, WCBS reported.
The wounded officer, a four-year NYPD veteran, was released from the hospital later in the night.
The New York Police Benevolent Association (NYCPBA) posted a video showing the officer being escorted out of the hospital in a wheelchair as his fellow officers and supporters applauded.
“We are extremely fortunate that our @NYPD48Pct brother was able to leave the hospital the same night he was shot while keeping New Yorkers safe,” the NYCPBA wrote. “Praying for a speedy recovery.”
None of the officers involved in the incident fired their weapons during the altercation, Commissioner Sewell told reporters.
“Tonight is yet another example of how quickly incidents can escalate and how officers risk their lives to keep our city safe,” the commissioner said, according to the New York Daily News.
Investigators recovered a firearm and a bullet at the scene of the shooting.
The weapon the teen was using had been reported as stolen in South Carolina in October of 2020, WCBS reported.
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The same suspect was arrested in May of 2020 for possession of a firearm.
He was prosecuted as a juvenile and was given a probation sentence in December of 2021, WCBS reported.
Investigators said he is a member of the Reyway crew, which is a subset of the Crips gang, according to the New York Daily News.
Police have not released the teen’s identity or specified what charges he is expected to face.
New York Mayor Eric Adams said citizens and lawmakers need to do more to hold criminals accountable, WCBS reported.
“He was arrested at 14 years old for being in possession of a gun. At 16, he’s arrested again, and this time, he discharged a gun,” Adams said. “What is it going to take? What is it going to take before we finally realize that we are endangering the lives of children by allowing children to carry guns that they are using on children?”
The mayor said he is frustrated by the continuing problem of gun violence.
“We are putting our communities in harm’s way, we are putting our police officers in harm’s way, and we don’t seem to get it,” he said.
“This individual just was placed on probation for possession of a gun in December. January, he’s back in possession of a gun. Something is wrong with that,” Adams told WCBS. “We are making tactical errors on preventing law enforcement communities from being able to rid our communities of guns. That’s unacceptable.”