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February 5, 2023, 12:13 AM

NYPD off-duty officer 'fighting for his life' after used vehicle purchase turns into armed robbery: officials

By Lawrence Richard

A shooting in Brooklyn late Saturday evening left an off-duty New York Police Department officer critically injured, and police are continuing to search for the suspect, authorities said.

During a press conference at the Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center in Brooklyn, shortly before 11 p.m., authorities said the injured officer was "fighting for his life" in critical condition after "what appears to be an attempted robbery during an attempt to purchase a vehicle."

The shooting took place around 7 p.m. Saturday on Ruby Street, near Linden Boulevard, the officials said.

"It hurts a lot," Mayor Eric Adams told the group of reporters, saying the officer is a five-year veteran of the NYPD who was off-duty at the time of the incident. "And it does not dissipate over time."

"We will catch the person responsible for this act," the mayor added. "This dangerous person must be removed from our streets."

The officer was not identified.

The NYPD subsequently asked for the public's help in locating the suspect.

Adams opened his remarks by thanking those who continue to serve in uniform despite an increase in attacks on police officers. He also said "far too often" he is tasked with visiting officers in the hospital who suffer injuries after being attacked.

The mayor explained shooting took place when the officer was conducting "a simple errand" to purchase a used vehicle when a "dangerous person pulled out a firearm" and attempted to rob the officer.

There was then an "exchange of gunfire," NYPD Police Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell added.

The officer previously coordinated the purchase and meeting arrangement over social media. The officer went with a family member, Sewell said.

Adams said he met with the officer’s wife and children and was "lifting the family up in prayer."

"My heart goes out to the family and to the department in general and specifically to the two members of his command to see a fellow officer experience this," he said.

The mayor also tied the shooting to the prevalence of "illegal guns" in New York.

"As we see throughout this city, too many illegal guns are in the hands of bad people, and [these individuals are] doing bad things," Adams continued.

Patrick Lynch, the president of the Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York (PBA), the largest police union representing NYPD police officers, also spoke during the press conference.

He accused politicians of "living in a fantasy world" and said union members were once again "asking for help" to quell attacks against police.

"Listen to the cries of a wife, a son, a brother," he said. "This is devastation. This is real."

"It’s humans, it’s cops and it’s families," Lynch added.

While thanking those who are keeping the injured officer in their thoughts and prayers, he said, "We can’t keep going to hospital emergency rooms and asking for prayers. We need more."

New York Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar tweeted Saturday evening that she was praying for the wounded officer.

"I am praying for the off-duty NYPD Officer from @NYPD66Pct fighting for his life after being shot in the head tonight in East New York," she said.

The lawmaker added: "Enough is enough. We must be aggressive and comprehensive in ending gun violence in our city."

If anyone has any information about this crime is encouraged to call the NYPD tip hotline or Crimestoppers at 800-577-TIPS.

The NYPD, as well as local, state, and federal partners, are continuing to investigate this incident.