A New York City police officer is expected to make a full recovery after being shot in the head while chasing a suspect in Brooklyn Tuesday night, authorities said.
Officer Kevin Brennan, 29, remains in critical but stable condition at Bellevue Hospital after emergency surgery during which doctors removed a bullet from his skull. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said he was shot at very close range, according to what investigators have seen on surveillance video of the shooting.
"It could have turned out an awful lot worse, and I think it's just another example of the men and women out in the streets every day and every night, trying to keep us safe," Mayor Bloomberg said at a hospital news briefing Tuesday night.
The suspect in the shooting, 21-year-old Luis "Baby" Ortiz of Brooklyn, was apprehended on Bushwick Avenue at about 11:30 p.m. following a massive manhunt in the area. It wasn't known if he had a lawyer.
The situation unfolded when officers were called to the Bushwick Houses public housing project at about 9 p.m. for shots fired, Kelly said.
Investigators believe Ortiz was shooting at someone with whom he had a stare down.
Three officers, including Brennan, saw three suspects running from the building, Kelly said. The officers ran after the individuals, with Brennan in the lead.
Brennan followed one of the suspects into the back of 370 Bushwick Ave., said Kelly. Inside the building, the man turned and fired a shot at the officer, striking him at the base of his skull.
The suspect, Ortiz, was known to police, said Kelly. One of the officers chasing him had arrested him in the past. Ortiz was additionally wanted for questioning in a New Year's Day homicide.
A black revolver with a brown handle was found on the ground outside the building where the shooting happened. Police were investigating whether it was the weapon used to fire at the officer.
Ortiz is likely to be charged with attempted murder of a police officer, authorities said.
Brennan was rushed to Bellevue Hospital, where trauma surgeons performed emergency surgery on him. The NYPD's chief surgeon, Dr. Eli Kleinman, said the bullet entered the back of the officer's head and was stopped by a thick portion of bone in the skull.
"He is one lucky young man," said Kelly, as he held up a container containing the bullet.
"He's cognizant of what's going on," added Bloomberg, who said Brennan recognized him and Kelly as they were at his bedside with his family. The officer was in and out of consciousness due to painkillers but was otherwise expected to make a complete recovery, the mayor said.
Brennan is a six-year NYPD veteran and a new father, according to Bloomberg. His wife, Janet, gave birth to their daughter six weeks ago.