Police kill gunman in struggle, vest saves officer’s life
NEW YORK (AP) — A naked man who pointed a handgun at a New York City police officer during a confrontation was shot dead by other officers Wednesday, while the cop was saved by his bulletproof vest, authorities said.
It was the fourth shooting by New York City officers in the last nine days, three of which were fatal.
The man had been banging on a woman’s door in a Harlem apartment building and breaking glass while armed with a .9mm handgun, according to Police Commissioner James O’Neill.
The officer, who wasn’t immediately identified, was treated at a hospital and released. Video tweeted by the Police Benevolent Association showed fellow officers applauding vigorously as he was brought outside in a wheelchair and assisted into a police van. He acknowledged them with a wave.
The police department released a photo of the officer’s vest, showing a bullet mark on his right breast pocket. Police didn’t immediately say who fired the shot that hit the officer.
O’Neill said at a hospital briefing that eight uniformed officers responded to a resident’s 911 call shortly before 2 a.m. about a neighbor who was harassing her.
As the officers fanned out to search the building, one encountered the naked man pointing a handgun.
“A violent struggle immediately began, and shots were fired,” O’Neill said. “The officer yelled for help as the struggle continued, and the other officers discharged their firearms, striking the suspect several times,” said O’Neill.
He said that in addition to being shot, the officer had been punched several times in the face.
“Thankfully we can report that his vest saved his life,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Twitter. “I visited with him this morning and he’s in good spirits. He’s a seven-year veteran and an example of courage and strength.”
Police didn’t identify the slain man, who was 29.
The deadly confrontation is the latest in a string of shootings involving police officers.
On Oct. 14, police fatally shot an armed man in Brooklyn as he fired a gun at another man. Hours later, officers wounded an armed man on a subway platform in the Bronx. On Oct. 17, a sergeant shot and killed a motorist in the Bronx who had been pulled over for not wearing a seat belt. Police said the sergeant fired after the man tried to drive away as officers were attempting to arrest him.
Two New York City police officers have been killed in shootings this year, but in both deaths the fatal shots were fired by other police officers.