A New York Police officer was shot and wounded as he tried to break up a gang fight, city officials reported.
Sherrod Stuart, an officer of the department’s plainclothes anticrime force, was shot in the right ankle according to NY Police Commissioner William Bratton.
The Commissioner said that the 25-year-old officer was struck at about 2 AM on January 9 after arriving on the scene of the gang fight. The officer reportedly returned fire striking his assailant four times.
Bronx residents called the NYPD to report that rival gangs had rushed onto Third Avenue clashing with knives, bats and fists. Up to 200 gang members were involved, police said.
When the officers arrived gang members suddenly pulled out guns and engaged in a gun battle.
“As backup units arrived the officers engaged in a gunfight during which Police Officer Stuart was struck in the right foot,” Bratton said at a Saturday morning press conference.
“What an impressive young man who went into this very dangerous situation and handled himself so well,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio added.
Officials identified the gang member alleged to have been Stuart’s attacker as Christopher Rice, 19. Rice was struck by the officer’s return fire on the right side of his neck, and in his abdomen, thigh, and hand.
Rice has a record of five previous arrests including one the previous morning for “fare beating.”
Five men were injured in the fight, most receiving knife wounds. Four firearms were recovered.
The officer who is entering into his fifth year on the job was listed in stable condition.
“He has distinguished himself already–in this situation he distinguished himself further with his quick thinking and his brave actions—and thank God his injuries are not life-threatening,” de Blasio concluded.
The shooting of the officer in New York comes only a day after Philadelphia Police officer Jesse Hartnett was fired at up to 13 times by a man who walked up to his cruiser on the street. The shooter, 30-year-old Edward Archer, claimed he shot at the officer in an attempted “execution” for Islam.
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