A police sergeant who was shot in both legs while chasing a man in Queens late Wednesday is expected to be OK, and police are searching for the suspected shooter, authorities said.
Sgt. Craig Bier, 44, who has a 4-year-old son, was in stable condition Thursday night, following surgery to remove the bullet from his leg earlier that day, police said.
"Last night, I couldn't hug him enough," his mother, Betty Bier, told NBC 4 New York at the hospital. "We're just all very worried."
Bier's father, a former NYPD detective, was grazed in the face while on the job in Manhattan "when my kids were small," Betty Bier said. "I think it's worse with a son," she added.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Thursday afternoon that cops are seeking John Thomas in connection with the shooting.
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 gun recovered at the scene last night.
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.
Wednesday night, Bier was patrolling the area near 107th Avenue and Union Hall Street as part of a plainclothes Queens gang-suppression unit, Kelly said at a news conference early Thursday. At about 10:30 p.m., Bier attempted to stop a man on a bicycle, and the man fled.
Bier chased the man down a narrow alley and the man fired four shots at the sergeant, hitting him in both legs, said Kelly. Bier shot back six times.
Bier was rushed to Jamaica Hospital, where he was "alert and remarkably in good spirits," said Kelly.
Police recovered a Luger 9mm pistol near the scene of the shooting. A man who later turned up at New York Hospital Queens with a graze wound to his face was questioned and then released.
The wounded sergeant is the 10th member of the NYPD shot while on the job this year, according to the department.
Bier is a 15-year veteran of the NYPD.
His 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."
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