NEW YORK: A New York police officer was shot and wounded while breaking up a street fight, Police Commissioner William Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a rare pre-dawn press conference Saturday.
The shooting comes amid heightened security – and paranoia – following attacks in California and Paris, and one day after a man claiming allegiance to the Islamic State group shot and wounded a police officer in Philadelphia.
Although neither Bratton nor de Blasio addressed the issue, it was clear that the New York shooting was unrelated to terrorism.
Bratton said that around 2:10 am, a plain clothes police officer in the Bronx borough was shot and wounded “in exchange of gunfire with a suspect.”
The 25 year-old officer, identified as Rod Stewart, had responded with his partner to “numerous 911 calls reporting a large fight in the street with gun, bats and knives”, Bratton said.
A fight had broken out at “a large jump up party with 100 to 200 people,” and the fracas spilled into the street.
As back-up units arrived “officers engaged in a gunfight in which police officer Stewart was struck in the right ankle,” Bratton said. The officer returned gunfire, “striking the male suspect four times.”
Stewart was rushed to the hospital, where he was reported in stable condition. Five victims stabbed in the initial fight were also hospitalized, Bratton said.
Police said they arrested a 19-year-old, who has a history of arrests, in connection with the shooting.
Mayor De Blasio said he visited Stewart in the hospital, and declared that the officer was “an impressive young man” who had “distinguished himself.”