New York City saw a spike in killings and violence throughout 2020 and up until the very last week of the year when police officers discharged their firearms four times in separate incidents.
The latest shooting occurred after a police officer was struck by a black Acura MDX in Ocean Hill section of Brooklyn following a traffic stop around 11 p.m. Wednesday, according to police. That's when another officer opened fire at the vehicle and the driver took off. It's unclear if anyone in the vehicle was shot and the officers involved are in stable condition.
Police say the vehicle with a New Jersey license plate was being investigated in connection to grand larceny in Manhattan. The car was also reported stolen.
Another officer-involved shooting took place around the same time Wednesday in the West Farms section of the Bronx, police said. Two officers were pursuing a person with a gun and when the man pointed the firearm at them, one of the officers shot at the suspect but missed. The 23-year-old suspect was then taken into custody, police said.
The incidents follow two other shootings earlier this week in Brooklyn when police fatally shot a machete-wielding man who allegedly attacked a woman on Tuesday; another unarmed man was shot in the leg by cops on Monday.
In 2019, officers discharged their firearms 29 times in the first two quarters, and 52 times during the entire year. It's not yet clear how many times officers discharged their weapon in total in 2020, but NYPD data from the first and second quarter of this year show officers have fired their weapon 19 times.
The spike in violence in the city started just as the pandemic began disrupting lives and shuttering businesses, and it reached a crescendo over the summer, as the city recorded an average 57 killings per month in July, August and September. By comparison, each of those months averaged 33 homicides in 2019.
Still, New York remains far safer than in the early 1990s, when there were more than 2,000 killings per year.