A New York City police officer was hospitalized in stable condition after being shot while sleeping in a car outside a station building in East Harlem early Saturday, Mayor Eric Adams said at a news conference hours after he was sworn in as city leader.
The officer, whose name was not released, had worked an eight-hour shift on New Year’s Eve, officials said, and lay down to sleep in his personal car in a parking lot next to 25. Precinct station house on East 119th Street to rest before his next shift began at 6 p.m. 7.00
When the officer woke up around 6:15 a.m., he noticed his rear window was shattered and he felt pain in his head, officials said.
Police said they had determined the bullet was fired from a distance. There were no initial indications that the officer had been attacked and no suspect had yet been identified. Investigators will determine if the shot was a stray bullet, officials said.
But Mr. Adams, who visited the officer and his family at New York-Presbyterian Hospital / Weill Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan, said the shooting reflected a problem that needed to be addressed immediately.
“This is a horrible act that took place,” said Mr. Adams. “We are not starting to call into the new year by bringing in violence. That is unacceptable. “
Keechant Sewell, the new police commissioner, said at the press conference that no officers who were outside the station building at the time heard gunshots and that there had been no 911 calls in the area of gunfire. The shooting was also not captured on video cameras at the police station, she said.
When the officer, who Commissioner Sewell said is a seven-year veteran of the ward, left his vehicle, others noticed blood coming from his head. He was taken to the hospital where he underwent surgery and doctors determined he had a skull fracture, Commissioner Sewell said.
“We are lucky, fortunate and grateful,” she said. “This incident underscores that there are too many weapons out there in the wrong hands.”
The shooting on Saturday served as a stark example of what Mr Adams has made a central part of his campaign platform as he takes office.
Gun violence had reached record lows in New York in 2018 and 2019. But during the coronavirus pandemic, shootings rose markedly – remaining far lower than the peaks of the 1980s and 1990s, but inflicting some neighborhoods, including part of East Harlem, a large load where the officer was shot Saturday.
Experts in gun violence said trends had shown signs of improvement and had begun to flatten in recent months, but numbers remained higher than pre-pandemic levels.
The rest of Mr. Adams’ first day in office touched on similar issues in the fight against crime.
Earlier in the day, he was at a subway station in Brooklyn when he called 911 after watching a fight break out on a nearby street. A police car eventually arrived after the situation had calmed down and officers did not intervene.