Both police officers who were shot in the Bronx earlier this week are recuperating at home Saturday after the second of them was released from a hospital.
Robert Holmes was greeted with applause from scores of fellow New York Police Department officers as he left a Bronx medical center Friday, a day after Officer Alejandra Jacobs was released.
Police said Holmes, who has been on the force for about eight years, and Jacobs, who joined the police department a year ago, responded to a report of a man with a gun on Beaumont Avenue Wednesday night. They encountered a man and immediately faced gunfire, Commissioner Dermot Shea said at a news conference after the shooting.
According to police, Jacobs was shot twice in the arm and returned fire, hitting the suspect. Holmes struggled with him over the weapon and was shot in the armpit, police said.
Officer Jacobs was released from St. Barnabas hospital Thanksgiving morning to a wave of blue support, grateful to be going home more than 12 hours after being shot twice alongside her partner.
"I'm good. Happy Thanksgiving," she said.
Shea said the NYPD is lucky the situation did not end up worse.
"We are very lucky tonight. If you think back, it was last New Year's Eve exactly one year ago, when we had two officers shot in the 105th Precinct, and they were released the following day. It looks like we're on that path again here tonight," said Shea.
"Extraordinary courage tonight. We looked at the video, we saw officers doing their job, protecting the people of this city with incredible bravery," said NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio. "And then, in the visit to their hospital room, two people of just extraordinary spirit. Officers who are in this work because they want to protect people, they want to save lives.
New video obtained by News 4 shows the seconds-long encounter after a 911 caller alerted police about a man with a gun in Belmont. The images show the moment Jacobs and Holmes came upon a man sitting on a stoop on Beaumont Avenue that police say matched the description of the suspect. According to Shea, the officers asked him to take his hands out of his pockets as Holmes opens the gate. Then the suspect stands up, police say this is when he pulls his gun out and shots were fired. Shea said that Jacobs shoots the suspect three times as Holmes wrestled him to the ground.
The suspect was in custody at Saint Barnabas as well, and is said to be in serious condition after being struck by one of the officers' return gunfire. He underwent surgery and was also expected to recover, police said.
A senior NYPD official with knowledge of the investigation identified him as Charlie Vasquez, 23, of Brooklyn; the official said Vasquez has nine prior arrests on his record. Vasquez was arrested Saturday on attempted murder and other charges.
It wasn't immediately clear when he would be arraigned or whether he had a lawyer who could speak to the allegations.
A black semi-automatic firearm, a .9-mm handgun, was recovered at the scene. Police say the gun was stolen in Georgia at some point in the past and eventually made its way here.