2 U.S. Marshals in Greenwich Village Gun Battle With Accused Child Molester Released From Hospital

Two U.S. Marshals wounded in the Greenwich Village gun battle with a California fugitive who skipped town after being accused of molesting a boy have been released from the hospital, authorities tell NBC 4 New York. An NYPD detective remains hospitalized following Monday's shootout at the smoke shop where the suspect worked, authorities said. 

The fugitive suspect, Charles Mozdir, was killed in the early afternoon shootout in Smoking Culture on West Fourth Street. Officers were acting on a tip that he was working there. NYPD detective Mario Muniz went in the store between Jones and Cornelia streets and confirmed that suspect was alone.

When Muniz returned with the marshals to make an arrest, Mozdir opened fire with a .32-caliber revolver, police say. 

"Mozdir fired upon the officers at very close range and the officers returned fire," Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said during a news briefing from Bellevue Hospital where the officers were taken.

Muniz was shot twice in the stomach below his bulletproof vest. He was in critical but stable condition. One marshal was shot in the leg and the other was hit in the elbow. All of the officers were in good spirits late Monday afternoon, Bratton said.

Bratton said the vest may have saved the officer's life, preventing a bullet from hitting him in the torso.

A man who worked at a barber shop next to where Mozdir worked said he was a recluse, "always doing everything inside." 

The man, who only gave his first name, Gregory, said he would bring Mozdir pizza because he rarely left the smoke shop. Mozdir often smoked next to the computer with his black Labrador retrieve by his side, and would only venture out after the sun set. 

A neighbor in the Alphabet City area where Mozdir resided said she sometimes ran into him while walking her dogs with her daughter.

He "never made eye contact," said Natasha Callapally, and was "really creepy, really weird."

Mozdir had been accused of sexually assaulting a boy he babysat in Coronado, California, near San Diego. The 32-year-old was recently profiled on "The Hunt with John Walsh," a CNN show similar to "America's Most Wanted."

Mozdir was wanted on a $1 million warrant. He was charged with multiple counts of committing forcible lewd acts on a child and attempting to dissuade a witness. He skipped an April court appearance in California and his car was found in Georgia two months later.

The trail went cold after that until officers got a phone call from a woman in Florida who is part owner of Mozdir's black Labrador retriever, law enforcement sources told NBC 4 New York. 

His weapon was recovered at the scene. Mozdir had 20 more rounds in his pockets, police said. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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