Thursday, December 18, 2014

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Three Officers Wounded in Village Shootout with Wanted Sex Offender

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Three law enforcement officers ended up in the hospital after a shootout with a wanted sex offender from California. He was killed in the gunfire. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.

Bullets flew inside the Smoking culture Smoke shop.

Two U.S. marshals and an NYPD detective were wounded while trying to arrest Charles Mozdir—an alleged child sex offender, wanted on a warrant from San Diego.

"The detective accompanied by the U.S. marshals entered the smoke shop to make an apprehension. Immediately up on entering, a gun battled ensued. Mozdir fired on officer at very close range and the officers returned fire," said Police Commissioner William Bratton at a press conference later Monday afternoon.

Mozdir, who was working at the smoke shop, was killed.

It happened just after 1 p.m. at West 4th Street and Sixth Avenue.

The three officers were from the New York-New Jersey regional fugitive task force.

NYPD detective Mario Muniz was the most seriously injured—shot in the lower stomach area, below his bullet proof vest. He was also hit in the chest, but Commissioner Bratton says the vest may have saved his life.

"We have recovered the round from the vest, that the vest actually kept from penetrating into his body," Bratton said.

Police say Mozdir had a 32-caliber pistol and 20 rounds of extra ammunition in his pockets.

The marshals are identified as Ryan Westfield and Pat Lin.

One marshal was hit in the elbow, the other in the upper leg area.

Just hours after the shooting, the three officers were listed in stable condition, and told police brass and the mayor that they were very lucky and happy to be alive.

"They had to deal with an incredibly difficult situation, split-second decisions, and they do what law enforcement personnel do every day. They have to put their lives on the line to protect the rest of us. And these three men did that," said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The mayor says after they recover, the three will be honored for their work.

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