An NYPD detective honored a half-dozen times for superior duty over his career was shot on Staten Island early Thursday while serving a narcotics warrant, but is in stable condition and expected to survive despite a serious wound to his leg.
The detective, identified as Dominick M. Libretti, was shot through a door while executing a narcotics warrant on Rockne Street in the New Springville section, police said.
He lost a significant amount of blood from the gunshot wound, and was said to be saved by the action of other officers on scene. Police medical officials described his wound as potentially both career- and life-threatening.
Shooting suspect Nicholas Pizarro (who is on federal probation) was not the target of the search warrant, but began firing after seeing police try to serve the warrant on another bedroom in the house. Sources told NBC New York that he spent three years in prison on drug charges, and didn't want to go back.
Libretti was holding a ballistic shield when he was shot, but continued to protect other officers.
"Even with a serious leg wound, bleeding badly enough that fellow officers had to apply immediate pressure to slow the blood loss, he held the ballistic shield in front of his team to protect them from gunfire," said NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell.
Multiple members of the narcotics team returned fire through the bedroom door, in order to get Pizarro to stop firing. He was struck in the leg.
The house had been under surveillance for weeks for drug activity, an official with direct knowledge of the investigation said. The subject of the search warrant, Anthony Marshall, is accused of selling crack and cocaine from the home, with prior arrests in New York and New Jersey. He was arrested without incident. A vehicle was towed from the crime scene in the afternoon.
The Detectives' Endowment Association, the union representing active and retired NYPD detectives, said members are praying for Libretti's recovery as its president called for swifter action to get guns off the streets.
"Unless we get the help we need to get the guns off our streets, and keep repeat offenders in jail, gunmen will continue to rule our city," DEA President Paul DiGiacomo said.
Libretty underwent surgery at Staten Island University North Hospital, where he was recovering later in the day. He was said to be in stable condition, but his injury was serious.
It was the second time in less than 36 hours that a New York City cop was shot in the line of duty, following an incident in the Bronx late Tuesday night.
That officer, who was shot in the leg while scuffling with a teenage suspect, has already been released from the hospital.
According to NYPD data, shooting incidents citywide are up 16% this year versus the same period last year.