An NYPD officer is hospitalized in critical condition after he suffered a head injury in an off-duty confrontation over a childish prank.
Police authorities say officer Ernest Rodrigz was driving through the Bronx Wednesday with his 7-year-old son when someone in a group of playing youths tossed a water balloon that hit his car.
Rodrigz stopped and got out to reprimand the culprit.
Investigators say another motorist saw him confronting the group, didn't realize he was a police officer and got out of his own car to intervene.
Police said that driver, Keith McNeill, then wound up punching the officer in the face hard enough to knock him out.
Rodrigz underwent surgery this week to alleviate swelling in his brain.
McNeill was arraigned Friday on assault charges.