A veteran NYPD officer was shot in the foot during a struggle with a handcuffed suspect who grabbed the cop's gun while being taken into Harlem Hospital Center early Monday, officials and witnesses said.
Mayor Bloomberg said officer Fausto Gomez, a seven-year NYPD veteran assigned to the 25th precinct, is expected to make a full recovery and has been treated and released from the Lenox Avenue hospital.
Gomez and his partner, John Chiodi, initially responded to a report of an assault in progress on Lexington Avenue shortly before 5 a.m and, after determining the 41-year-old suspect was emotionally disturbed, they cuffed his hands behind his back, put him in an ambulance and brought him to the hospital for evaluation, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said at a news briefing.
When Gomez went to get the suspect out of the ambulance, Kelly said the man tried to run. The two officers grabbed onto the man and, with one on either side of him, escorted him up a ramp to the hospital entrance. Once there, the suspect began to struggle again. Despite having his hands cuffed behind his back, he managed to grab Chiodi's gun and fire two times, striking Gomez once in the foot, Kelly said.
An EMT managed to disarm the suspect, and no other injuries were reported, police said.
The suspect, identified as Guiteau Idore, was taken to another hospital for psychiatric evaluation. Police say Idore has an extensive arrest record, including for assault and domestic violence.
He was arrested on charges of attempted murder, robbery and assault. It wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney.
Twelve NYPD officers were shot in the line of duty last year. While Bloomberg said Gomez's graze wound thankfully was not too serious, he said the shooting should serve as a reminder about the risk police undertake each day to protect the city.
"They put their lives on the line to protect us every day, and we need to make sure that we do everything that we can to protect them," the mayor said. "Fortunately, this was not a serious wound, but a tiny fraction of a degree difference in the direction of the gun and it could've been."