2 Arrested in Connection With Shooting of NYPD Officers in Bronx

Two career criminals were arrested in connection with the shooting of two NYPD officers who were responding to a robbery call at a Bronx deli late Monday, authorities said at a news briefing Tuesday.

The alleged gunman, Jason Polanco, was picked up in the borough Tuesday afternoon, hours after he was allegedly captured on a restaurant's surveillance video opening fire on a group of five officers who were responding to the robbery. Two of the cops --  30-year-old Andrew Dossi and 38-year-old Aliro Pellerano -- were wounded.  

Pellerano, a nine-year NYPD veteran with more than 500 arrests during his time on the force, was shot in the abdomen and arm near East 184th Street and Tiebout Avenue in Fordham at around 10:30 p.m. Monday, officials said. Dossi, an eight-year NYPD veteran who has notched more than 125 arrests, was shot in the arm and lower back. Both are hospitalized in stable condition, and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said Pellerano would likely be released Wednesday.

The officers, who were in plain clothes and about to end their shifts, were part of a group of five cops responding to a call about a robbery on East 180th Street in the Bronx, Bratton said. The suspects who robbed the deli had been wearing masks and distinctive clothing and made off with an undetermined amount of money, police said. Knowing the suspects had fled the initial scene, the officers began to canvass the neighborhood.

Police say investigators think that Polanco and a second suspect, Joshua Kemp, noticed the approaching officers, and Polanco ducked into a nearby Chinese food restaurant. Polanco allegedly fired one shot through the glass that went through Kemp's bicep and hit a police officer, then fired another two shots. Bratton said the suspects then ran to Marion Avenue, where they carjacked a white Chevrolet Camaro from a man and a woman. A short time later, they abandoned the car and ran, police said. Investigators recovered a black Ruger Blackhawk revolver nearby.

In total, authorities said six shots were fired -- three allegedly by Polanco and three by one of the five officers that responded to the robbery call. The officer who fired the shots was not one of the two wounded.

Polanco, who has three prior convictions on weapons charges, faces charges of attempted murder of a police officer, carjacking and commercial robbery. Kemp, who is on parole for robbery and has 10 prior convictions, according to authorities, faces charges of commercial robbery. 

It wasn't immediately clear when they would be arraigned, nor was it known if they had attorneys.

At a news briefing earlier Tuesday, Mayor de Blasio thanked the officers for risking their lives to keep the city safe.

"As always, the city of New York and the NYPD will be with them through this challenge and as these officers recover," de Blasio said.

The officers were shot hours after the mayor and the police commissioner held a joint news conference to tout record low crime levels, with overall crime down 4 percent from last year. But shootings were up 13 percent, which NYPD officials admitted were "an area of concern." 

Last month, NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were shot and killed while sitting in a patrol car in Brooklyn, fueling tension between police and City Hall. Police unions have blamed de Blasio for permitting protests over police conduct that has, in turn, fostered an anti-NYPD atmosphere they believe contributed to the killings of the officers. The family of the gunman, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, said he was emotionally disturbed and that the shootings had nothing to do with police retaliation.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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