NEW YORK (AP) - A New York City police officer was wounded by gunfire in the Bronx on Saturday night in what Commissioner Dermot Shea called "an assassination attempt."
Two uniformed officers were sitting in a locked police van with emergency lights activated when a man approached them and engaged them in conversation just before 8:30 p.m., Shea said. Police believe the man asked the officers for directions before pulling out a gun "without provocation," the commissioner said. The man fired multiple shots, striking the officer behind the wheel in the chin and neck.
Shea said the bullets narrowly missed the officer's carotid artery.
"He is lucky to be alive," Shea said. "He is expected to make a full recovery and it is a miracle."
The commissioner indicated that the shooter was not in custody, saying officers had a description of a man between the ages of 20 and 30. Neither officer returned fire.
The shooting happened near the junction of East 163 and Barretto streets, where the officers were stationed because of recent drug activity and violence, Shea said.
The officer's partner drove him to a hospital nearby, where Shea and Mayor Bill de Blasio held a press conference. Shea said the partners had been friends since middle school.
The officer will be held for observation overnight and Shea anticipated he could likely be discharged Sunday.
De Blasio echoed Shea's characterization of the shooting, calling it "an attempt to assassinate police officers."
"There's just too much hatred out there right now," De Blasio said.
Shea said the Saturday night shooting "harkens back to some bad times," referencing previous assassinations, including the 2017 fatal shooting of police officer Miosotis Familia as she sat in her patrol vehicle in the Bronx.