The NYPD sergeant who was shot in both legs while chasing a suspect down a narrow alley this week is out of the hospital as police continue to look for the gunman who put him there.
Sgt. Craig Bier, a 15-year NYPD veteran, was shot while working with an anti-gang unit in the Jamaica section of Queens Wednesday night. He left the hospital to the sound of bagpipes and cheers from members of the NYPD gang squad and the local precinct.
The 44-year-old officer, who has a 4-year-old son, thanked fellow officers for their support and said he was glad to be going home following surgery to remove the bullet from his leg Thursday.
"It's a great day that he's being released, more importantly it's a great day that he's still alive," said Ed Mullins of the Sergeants Benevolent Association.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly identified the suspected assailant Thursday as 24-year-old John Thomas of Queens. He remains at large.
Cops tracked keys left at the scene of the shooting to an apartment in the South Jamaica Houses registered in Thomas' name, sources said, and his fingerprint was found on the magazine of a Ruger 9 mm pistol recovered at the scene Wednesday.
"The serial number shows it was sold in Virginia," said Mayor Bloomberg during his weekly address on the John Gambling radio show Friday. "Probably illegal because the perp that we’re looking for has a criminal record, so he has no legal right to have a gun, so if he has a gun it would be illegal."
Thomas, 24, is a person of interest in a June shooting, sources said, and has an extensive criminal record with at least 17 prior arrests.
The wounded sergeant is the 10th member of the NYPD shot while on the job this year, according to the department.
Bier's mother said her son told her not to get too upset about the shooting. "He knows I get very excited," she said. "Soon as I saw him talking and smiling, I was fine."
A $32,000 reward is being offered for information leading to Thomas' arrest.
Anyone with information on Thomas' whereabouts is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at WWW.NY
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