A man has been arraigned on attempted murder and other charges in connection with the shooting of an NYPD officer in Queens Saturday afternoon.
The shooting happened near the intersection of 104 Road and 212 Street in the Queens Village neighborhood around 6:15 p.m.
According to the NYPD, two plainclothes anticrime officers noticed a man adjusting his waistband, indicating that he may possibly have a handgun on him. When they approached him in their unmarked police vehicle, investigators say the suspect opened fire, with at least two bullets hitting the vehicle.
Officer Brian Moore, 25, was in the driver’s seat and suffered injuries to his right cheek and back of the head. He was taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, where he underwent surgery.
"He's still in very serious condition. His colleagues, by the hundreds, and his family members now await vigil, hoping to get some good news. What we ask is that the public, along with the police officers bow their head and pray—pray not only for Brian, but pray for his family. Just yesterday, they said goodbye to their son, sent him off to work and now they wait in a hospital corridor," said Pat Lynch, head of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association.
Police Commissioner William Bratton said that with the help of witnesses, police officers were able to track down the suspected shooter at a home near the scene of the shooting.
One witness described what she saw immediately after the incident.
Witness: "All I heard him say was something to the effect of, 'Partner, please stay with me,' and then I saw him pick up his radio and call it in. And then they transferred the detective that got shot from the car to another police car and took off."
Reporter: "Have you seen them in this neighborhood before?"
Witness: "No, I haven't seen them before."
Reporter: "But you could definitely tell that they were officers?"
Witness: "Yeah, I could definitely tell."
The Queens district attorney has charged Demetrius Blackwell, 35, with two counts of first degree attempted murder on a police officer, one count of aggravated assault on a police officer, two counts of second degree criminal possession of a weapon and one count of first-degree assault. He faces life in prison if convicted.
District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement, "Last night’s shooting once again reminds us of the dangers that our police officers face each day as they carry out their sworn duty to protect and serve our communities. The defendant is accused of firing a weapon at two officers without warning, one of whom was struck in the head.That officer is presently hospitalized in critical condition and is fighting for his life. The defendant faces life in prison for his alleged action."
The NYPD says Blackwell has an extensive arrest history, including that he has served time for attempted murder in the past.
During a news conference at the hospital Saturday night, Bratton, along with Mayor Bill de Blasio, said Moore is a five-year veteran who comes from a police family.
“This was an unconscionable act of violence – not just against one police officer, but against the city of New York,” said Mayor de Blasio.
Police are still searching for the weapon used in the shooting. Bratton said warrants will be used in the search.