In separate incidents occurring an hour apart in the Bronx and Brooklyn boroughs of New York City, three NYPD cops were shot, leaving a gunman dead on a subway platform and an innocent straphanger wounded.
The New York Daily News is reporting three cops, all expected to make a full recovery, were the first officers shot in the New Year. They were wounded just days after the NYPD closed a year in which a dozen cops were shot.
The officers, Juan Pichardo, Michael Levay and Lukasz Kozicki, were injured Thursday night.
“As both these incidents illustrate, the historic crime reductions that New Yorkers enjoy come at a price,” said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly to reporters after the shootings.
“Thank God, three good guys –three New York City police officers, who acted heroically– are going to make it,” added Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “But we owe it to the good guys to do whatever we can to protect them. “Tonight, separated by a single hour, three of New York’s Finest were injured by a gun in two different boroughs.”
According to the newspaper, the back-to-back shootings occurred after two men tried to hold up Officer Juan Pichardo’s family-owned car dealership in the Bronx. The suspects, also with two accomplices waiting in a getaway car, told the off-duty cop at the Boston Road Auto Mall dealership that they were interested in purchasing a red Nissan Altima. Instead, sources stated one of them pulled a handgun, ordering everyone on the floor.
Police said the two gunmen, noted for being part of a crew sought after for other robberies in the area, began to ransack the office before Pichardo stood up and grabbed them. During the struggle, they said, the gunman squeezed off one shot, tearing through Pichardo’s right thigh.
“I heard two men arguing, angry at each other,” said local resident Alicia Edwards to the publication. “Then I heard a gunshot. Then the shouting stopped.”
Kelly revealed Pichardo, noted as a nine-year veteran, managed to help a co-worker hold down the gunman and grab the pistol from his hand.
The three other suspects fled, but were soon apprehended. Charges against them are pending.
Pichardo, a married father of three children, was taken to Jacobi Medical Center. But then an hour after the attempted robbery, officers visiting Pichardo learned of another shooting.
Two plainclothes cops, stated the Daily News, were patrolling a Manhattan-bound N train when they spotted a man walking between cars. When the train came to a stop, Levay and Kozicki asked the man for identification.
“The male stood up as if to comply with the officers, and appeared to reach for his wallet,” explained Kelly.
However, the suspected pulled out a gun and shots erupted.
Kozicki was hit in each of his upper thighs and once in the groin. Levay was hit in the back of his bullet-resistant vest. He returned fire, killing the gunman at the scene. A stay bullet grazed straphanger Emmanuel Ramos in the leg.
The two officers, as well as Ramos, were taken to Lutheran Medical Center. The trio was listed in stable condition.
Kelly said the gunman, who was not identified, had five prior arrests, including one for assault with a knife.
“In recent weeks, we’ve heard some people say that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” said Bloomberg. “But sometimes, the good guys get shot…tonight, we’re just grateful that these three cops will be going home to their families.”