The Brooklyn man accused of shooting a police officer in the head is now facing charges that include attempted murder and assault, and community activists gathered Wednesday to call for more protection for officers. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.
Luis "Baby" Ortiz seemed to taunt reporters as police took him to court to face charges for allegedly shooting a police officer.
The 21-year-old also told a handful of supporters he loved them.
Community leaders are outraged.
"These police officers are here to protect and serve. Those that are protecting us need to be protected by us as well," said community activist Tony Herbert.
Police say Officer Kevin Brennan responded to an emergency call and got shot in the head.
"He was shot in very close range. It entered in, the best way I can describe it, the right rear portion of his skull," said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. "It was a very large hole."
Investigators believe Ortiz fired a handgun twice during a confrontation with another man at the Bushwick Houses Tuesday night at 9 p.m.
Officer Brennan and another plainclothes borough anti-crime officer spotted Ortiz leaving a building, and police say they chased him into a rear door of another building.
The door shut behind Brennan.
“That’s when you see him attempt to grab the individual, and that's when he's shot,” said Kelly. “The fact of the matter is this officer was shot at point blank range with a .38 caliber revolver, .38 caliber round, and thank God he's alive.”
Surgeons successfully removed the bullet. Brennan is 29 years old and a 7-year veteran of the force. His wife gave birth to a daughter just six weeks ago. She doesn't know how lucky her dad is.
Authorities say the gun may have misfired on another round. They recovered the weapon at the scene and captured Ortiz two hours later at a relative's home.
"This is unacceptable,” said John Rodriguez of the 75th Precinct Community Council. “He’s gotta go to jail, he’s gotta pay his time, and it’s sad that another officer got shot in the face."
Police say they’ve arrested Ortiz more than a dozen times in the past and that he's served time behind bars.
He was also wanted by police for questioning in a New Year’s Day shooting.
That case remains open.
Authorities say Officer Brennan is undergoing testing, and the long term consequences of the shooting to him remain unclear.