An NYPD officer from Queens shot in the arm on an anti-gun patrol early Tuesday was released from hospital about 12 hours after he was wounded.
Officer Paul Lee of the 48th Precinct was wheeled out of St. Barnabas Hospital to sustained applause and the cheers of his fellow officers after being treated for a wound to his left arm.
Lee, a three-year veteran of the force, left the hospital in a wheelchair and was taken to a waiting police van where NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell shook his right hand and then helped him rise to get into the vehicle. But before sitting in the van, Lee turned to the mass of cops and gave them a thumbs-up sign.
Earlier in the day Sewell said during a news conference at the hospital that a 16 year-old who had a .32 caliber firearm was arrested and cops were seeking two other additional suspects in the incident which occurred at around 3:03 a.m.
At the hospital after Lee was driven away, Police Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch applauded the effort of the two cops in staying calm and getting to the hospital.
“Professionals right to the end,” said Lynch. “While there was chaos all around them, they were calm.”
However, Lynch complained that the impact of bail reforms and other measures has emboldened criminals, particular the young.
“The streets are erupting against police officers because the laws are lax,” said Lynch. “A child has no fear of the police or the consequences of pulling a trigger on a police officer."
The two uniformed officers had approached what the NYPD said was “a known gang location” on Prospect Avenue near 183rd Street in an unmarked car when Sewell said they “attempted to engage two males on the corner.”
Before the officers got out of their car, "at least one male" fired six times, striking the officer in the passenger seat, the NYPD said.
Both officers returned fire and gave chase. Two more shots were fired from about 100 feet away by someone armed with a .380 caliber firearm, the NYPD said.
The two suspects still at large are both male. One was with the 16-year-old and the other was the shooter of the .380-caliber firearm, the NYPD said.
Both wore black, with the shooter clad in a hooded sweatshirt and jeans, the NYPD said.
Mayor Eric Adams said he had thanked the injured officer and his family, and praised him and his colleagues for reducing gun violence in the Bronx.
However, he said, this shooting “clearly emphasizes too many youngsters have too many guns in their hands and our job is to create a pathway to stop that and remove guns from our streets.”