What to Know
- The cop hit in the chest by gunfire during an encounter with a naked armed suspect appears to have been shot by the suspect, two sources say
- The 29-year-old suspect was shot multiple times and he was later pronounced dead
- The officer was wearing a bullet-resistant vest, which the bullet didn't penetrate, authorities said; he's already out of the hospital
The police officer who was shot in the chest after coming across an armed, naked man when responding to a disturbance call at an apartment building in Manhattan early Wednesday was shot by the suspect, who was killed in the violent encounter, the NYPD announced Thursday during a press conference.
The officer had been wearing a bullet-resistant vest, and police say that vest saved his life. No other cops were wounded.
NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill previously said the officer was taken to a hospital in stable condition and released later Wednesday morning. The 29-year-old suspect was shot multiple times and he was pronounced dead at a hospital.
According to a law enforcement official, the suspect was the super of the building and his mother is an NYPD cop in the 52nd Precinct.
Eight uniformed officers responded to a report from a resident who said a man was harassing her at her Frederick Douglass Boulevard building in Harlem, banging on doors and breaking glass around 2 a.m. Wednesday. They ascended to the second floor of the apartment and began their search for the suspect.
One of the officers then encountered a naked man, who pointed his 9mm semi-automatic pistol at him, O'Neill previously said. A violent struggle ensued -- the officer, a 34-year-old cop with seven years on the force, was punched multiple times in the face -- and shots were fired, O'Neill said. It wasn't immediately clear whose shots killed the suspect. However, cops say the suspect's weapon was recovered at the scene. The gun case was in the staircase.
The suspect, identified by a senior law enforcement official as Victor Hernandez, has had previous interactions with police related to domestic violence, O'Neill said. His most recent arrest was in 2014 for criminal contempt, the official said.
During the Thursday press conference, NYPD Police Deputy Chief Kevin Maloney said, that based on body cameras and footage recovered from the location, cops encountered Hernandez in the hallway with a gun pointing in the direction of the officers.
According to Maloney, the officer who was wounded in the encounter first makes his way toward Hernandez, and as the officer makes his way down the hallway "a violent struggle ensued."
During the struggle shots were fired by the subject and by the police officer, Maloney said, adding that the shot fired by Hernandez struck the officer "on the left side of his chest and was stopped by his ballistic vest." The bullet was subsequently recovered from the vest and sent in for analysis.
"Results of this examination confirm that this shot was fired by the subject's firearm," Maloney said, adding that after Hernandez fired his gun it fell to the floor and a "violent physical struggle over the officer's firearm continued" as additional officers down the hall responded to the scene and two of these officers shot their firearms striking Hernandez 10 times.
Hernandez was pronounced dead at the scene by EMS, Maloney said.
According to the NYPD, Hernandez had six prior arrests -- all related to domestic violence incidents.
During the Thursday press conference, the NYPD showed footage of the struggle between officer and Hernandez. Although, the officers were equipped with body cameras, the camera of the officer involved in the struggled was damaged during the violent encounter and was, therefore, sent out to Seattle for footage analysis, according to Maloney.
The injured cop, who is assigned to the 32nd Precinct, is married to another NYPD officer, a woman he met in the police academy, authorities said. The mayor and O'Neill met with the couple Wednesday.
"Thank God for his vest. He's alive and well," Mayor de Blasio said at St. Luke's hospital.
The site of the shooting is located just across the street from Police Service Area 6 and officers quickly responded to the scene. Cellphone videos posted to Citizen App NYC showed heavy police response, with several patrol cars lining the street and escorting the injured officers to the hospital.