Two New York City police officers were shot by a "career criminal" suspect on the eve of Thanksgiving in the Bronx, which Mayor Bill de Blasio pinned on there being "too many guns out there."
"It’s another example of a gun from out of state, comes into our city, hurts a New Yorker," de Blasio said. "This is something we’ve got to deal with in a whole different way. But in the meantime, thank God that there is one more shooter off the streets because of the bravery of these just absolutely extraordinary officers."
The mayor also noted the officers showed "incredible bravery" and was thankful for them and for the fact that they are recovering from their injuries.
Commissioner Dermot Shea said the shooting was carried out by a "career criminal with far too many arrests, still on the streets of New York City." He did not identify the suspect or the injured officers during the press conference.
"What we know about this firearm is that it was reported stolen last year in Georgia. Obviously made its way, as far too many guns do, up into New York City and it's causing carnage on the streets," Shea added of the gun used in the crime.
Patrick Lynch, president of the Police Benevolent Association, also agreed at the press conference that there are too many guns on the streets of New York but noted the problem is due to criminals being unafraid to carry firearms.
"But perps aren’t afraid to carry them," he said. "They’re not afraid to put it in their belt, put it in their pocket and pull it out on a police officer. That’s the problem."
Shea said the community did its job Wednesday night by calling 911 in response to the shooting and added: "It's time for the rest of the system to do its job and make the streets as safe as they can be."
One of the officers, a female who has been on the force for about a year, was struck twice in the upper right arm. She returned fire and shot the suspect. She is expected to survive.
Her partner, a male officer with eight years on the force, was shot in the armpit area. He is also expected to survive the injuries.
The unidentified suspect was shot a total of three times and was in surgery at St. Barnabas Hospital at the time of the press conference. His condition was upgraded to serious from critical, the New York Times reported after speaking with an NYPD detective just after 2 a.m. Thanksgiving morning.
The manager of 7 Days & Nights Deli on 187th Street, Malik Alsaedi, heard the gunshots at about 8 p.m. on Wednesday and called 911, he told the New York Times.
"When I heard the shots, I didn’t think they were that close. I didn’t think they were a block away," Alsaedi said. "But when I walked outside, that’s when I realized it was something serious."
The attack comes exactly one year after two NYPD officers were shot and injured in an ambush attack when responding to a domestic violence report in Queens.