NEW YORK — A gunman walked into a police station in the Bronx and started shooting early Sunday, wounding an officer just hours after he shot a different officer in a patrol van.
The same gunman was responsible for the back-to-back shootings, New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said Sunday at a news conference.
“For the second time in less than 12 hours, NYPD officers have been targeted specifically,” Shea said.
Shea said the gunman walked into the headquarters of the 41st police precinct shortly before 8 a.m., firing off bullets. A male officer was shot once in the upper left arm. That officer returned fire but did not hit the suspect.
Shea, who described the suspect as a “coward,” said the gunman laid down once he ran out of bullets. The suspect, whose name has not been released, was taken into custody.
He has a lengthy rap sheet and was paroled from prison in 2017 after an attempted murder conviction, Shea said.
“This is not a crime gone bad. This is not a liquor store robbery interrupted that a tragedy erupts from. This is a premeditated assassination attempt,” the commissioner said.
The shooting inside the precinct headquarters came just hours after another attack in the same section of the Bronx, involving the same suspect.
Two officers narrowly escaped with their lives when a gunman fired into their patrol van just before 8:30 p.m Saturday.
The officer at the wheel of the van was grazed in the chin and neck, but he avoided serious injury. He was expected to be released from the hospital Sunday. Shea said at a late-night news conference that the attack “should outrage all New Yorkers.”
The attacks recalled other unprovoked assaults on police officers sitting in their patrol vehicles.
In 2017, a gunman killed Officer Miosotis Familia as she sat in her patrol vehicle in the Bronx. In 2014, two officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, were shot dead in their patrol car in Brooklyn by a man upset about recent police killings of unarmed black men. Shea said Ramos and Liu’s deaths were “not something that engenders anything but the worst memories.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a tweet Sunday he was “horrified by the multiple attacks” on police.
“NY’s law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe. These attacks are heinous,” Cuomo wrote.
Horrified by the multiple attacks on @NYPD officers in the Bronx.
NY’s law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe. These attacks are heinous.
Those responsible will be brought to justice & held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) February 9, 2020
Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, condemned the back-to-back attacks.
“This was an attempt to assassinate police officers. We need to use that word,” de Blasio said at the Sunday news conference.
President Donald Trump immediately used the shootings to assail New York’s Democratic mayor and governor.
The two uniformed officers, partners for eight years and friends since middle school, were sitting in their van with emergency lights activated when a man approached them and engaged them in conversation, Shea said.
The man asked the officers for directions, then pulled out a gun “without provocation,” the commissioner said. The man fired multiple shots, striking the officer behind the wheel. Shea said the officer’s carotid artery narrowly avoided injury.
Neither officer returned fire. The officer’s partner drove him to a hospital nearby. Shea called both officers “heroic” for their composure and said their long association made for “an amazing story.”
Security video that appeared to capture Saturday night’s shooting shows the van driving quickly away as a man appeared to point something at the fleeing vehicle.The officers had been stationed in the neighborhood because of recent drug activity and violence, Shea said.