The New York Daily News and the New York Post report that It was a dangerous night for the Thin Blue Line in New York City Thursday. Three NYPD officers were shot within one hour; one gunman is dead. They are the first three officers shot in New York City in 2013.
Officer Juan Pichardo was shot while off duty at about 6:30 p.m. as he worked in his family’s Bronx used car dealership. While Officer Pichardo and other co-workers were on the premises, the gunman entered the facility stating that he was interested in purchasing a red Altima. Two accomplices waited in a car in the parking lot.
All the employees were ordered to the floor at gunpoint. As the robbers began ransacking the office, Pichardo struggled with the gunman, who shot him in the thigh. Pichardo, assigned to the 41st Precinct, was able to assist a co-worker in holding the gun man down.
Pichardo was taken to Jacobi Medical Center and is expected to make a full recovery. He is the father of three young children. The two other thugs who fled the scene were apprehended a short time later. Charges are pending against the 3 men; they are believed to be part of a theft ring that has been operating in the area.
While police officers and officials gathered at Jacobi Hospital, news of a second officer involved shooting on a Brooklyn subway platform emerged at 7:30 p.m. Two other NYPD Transit officers approached a man who was acting suspiciously and illegally riding between subway cars. Officers Michael Levay and Lukasz Kozick approached the suspect. They believed he was reaching for his wallet, but he pulled out a 9 mil and fired on both of them. Levay returned fire and killed the shooter. Witnesses report that the gunman appeared to be deliberately aiming to hit the officers below their bullet-proof vests.
The shooter, whose name has not been released, had a lengthy criminal history and was well known to law enforcement. He had been arrested for turnstile jumping with a knife, assault, a stabbing, and has an additional California criminal history. Both officers were taken to Lutheran Medical Center for treatment. They are also expected to make a full recovery. As is true for all officer involved shootings, the incident remains under investigation.
NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly stated in a news conference, “These incidents illustrate that the historic crime reductions that New Yorkers enjoy come at a price. Tonight, thank God, three good guys – three New York City police officers, who acted heroically – are going to make it.”
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