By Paul Lomax, Jeff Mays and Tom Liddy
MANHATTAN — An ex-con was shot and critically injured in Harlem Sunday evening after he opened fire on a group of police officers, authorities said.
The shootout unfolded at 2698 Frederick Douglass Blvd., near West 143rd Street, just before 6:30 p.m.
According to police officials, two uniformed officers from the 32nd Precinct, approached the suspect, Franklyn Nunez, 23, who was standing in front of the Drew Hamilton Houses along with several other men.
Nunez, who has three prior arrests, including assault and a conviction for weapons possession, then crossed over Frederick Douglass Boulevard and then began hurriedly walking north as the officers followed.
At some point the man turned around and shot twice at the officers but did not hit them, according to the officials.
That's when one of the cops — assigned to the Operation Impact program, which floods high crime areas with new officers — fired back, hitting the man in the chest and upper left thigh, police said.
He was rushed to Harlem Hospital in critical but stable condition, according to the officials.
But some witnesses said Nunez was shot in the back.
"The kid was running away. He looked real scared," said witness David Page, 42. "Next thing I see him freeze and that's when the cop shot him in the back."
A source said that the man who was shot was hopping between two cars when he was shot.
Police insisted on their account and said that a .45 caliber Colt 1911 handgun was recovered at the scene, loaded with several bullets.
Two shell casings were also recovered.
Nunez was not immediately charged.