NEW YORK -- A manhunt was underway Sunday for a gunman who critically wounded an off-duty New York Police Department officer who arranged on social media to meet at a Brooklyn street address to buy a car, authorities said.
When the officer arrived with a relative in the borough's East New York neighborhood, the gunman announced a robbery and displayed a gun, leading to an exchange of gunfire that wounded the officer, according to Michael Baldassano, assistant chief of the NYPD Detectives Bureau.
Baldassano told a news conference late Saturday that the gunman fled the scene and the officer was taken to Brookdale Hospital. He asked anyone with information to contact police.
Baldassano, responding to a question, said there was no reason to believe that the gunman knew that the officer worked for the police department, but it was a question that remained under investigation.
Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said the critically wounded officer was a five-year NYPD veteran assigned to the patrol division.
“He is currently fighting for his life,” Sewell said.
Mayor Eric Adams, attending the news conference with Sewell, vowed to “catch the person responsible.”
He blamed the shooting on “too many illegal guns ... in the hands of bad people.”
Patrick Lynch, president of the Police Benevolent Association, called on state legislators to find ways to attack gun and violence problems.
“You want to see reality, look at the devastation that those rounds caused to that young man’s body, listen to the cries of a wife, a father, a mother, their children. That’s reality. It’s causing devastation. This has to end,” he said.