Four Cops Shot in Sheepshead Bay Gun Battle

By DNAinfo Staff on April 8, 2012 10:22am  | Updated on April 8, 2012 6:31pm

A police van sits at 3301 Nostrand Ave. where four cops were shot on April 8, 2012.
A police van sits at 3301 Nostrand Ave. where four cops were shot on April 8, 2012.
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DNAinfo/Chelsia Rose Marcius

By Chelsia Rose Marcius and Tom Liddy

DNAinfo Reporters

BROOKLYN — Four cops were wounded in a furious gun battle in Sheepshead Bay Saturday night when an ex-con who had taken his pregnant girlfriend and baby son hostage opened fire at close range, authorities said.

Despite being shot at a dozen times from close range, none of the police officers — including two detectives and a captain — were seriously wounded and managed to return fire, stopping the suspect.

"Fortunately, all are in stable condition and are expected to fully recover," a relieved Mayor Michael Bloomberg said of the wounded officers, after visiting with them at Lutheran Hospital.

The shooting marks the eighth police officer shot in the city in the past four months and the second time in 24 hours that cops had been fired upon, Bloomberg said.

"All the shootings have a disgraceful fact in common: all were committed with illegal guns that came from out of state," the mayor said. "And that is the case with nearly every shooting in our city."

The mayhem unfolded on Nostrand Avenue and Avenue T around 10:30 p.m. when the suspect, Nakwon Foxworth, 33, who was with his pregnant girlfriend and their 4-month-old son, began menacing moving company employees with a gun, police said.

One of the movers then called 911, saying "He's got a gun...he's got a gun," according to Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, who spoke at Lutheran Hospital, where the officers were recovering, early Sunday morning.

But the suspect — who was released from prison in 2010 after serving a decade for robbery and attempted murder as well as selling drugs in prison — allegedly forced the movers back to their truck outside and retreated back inside the building with his girlfriend and child.

Members of the NYPD's Anti-Crime unit responded to the scene and went to Foxworth's apartment on the sixth floor of the building.

When they knocked, they got no answer, but saw a man, woman and child through the peephole.

Moments after Emergency Services Unit officers were summoned to the scene, the woman and child fled from the apartment and said that she was being held hostage by the armed suspect, Kelly said.

Nakwon Foxworth was charged with attempted murder, assault on a police officer, weapons possession and menacing for allegedly shooting four cops in a gun battle on April 7, 2012.
Nakwon Foxworth was charged with attempted murder, assault on a police officer, weapons possession and menacing for allegedly shooting four cops in a gun battle on April 7, 2012.
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When the ESU cops entered around 12:30 a.m., Foxworth popped out from a bedroom and allegedly unleashed a hail of a dozen bullets, striking four of the officers on the six-man team.

Resident Felix Dorfman, 43, said he was watching TV when he heard what he thought were firecrackers.

"It was quick. There were a flood of officers and at least four or five ambulances outside," he said. "They blocked the whole street off."

Det. Michael Keenan, 52, of ESU Truck 6, was hit in the calf, Det. Kenneth Ayala, 49, also of ESU Truck 6, was hit in the thigh and foot and Officer Matthew Granahan, 35, of ESU Truck 7, was hit the calf, Kelly said.

Capt. Al Pizzano, 45, was grazed to the face, police said. 

Despite being wounded at a distance of no more than 10 feet apart, Keenan and Ayala returned fire, striking the suspect in the abdomen, Kelly said.

Foxworth was taken to Lutheran Hospital where he was listed in critical but stable condition. He was charged Sunday afternoon with attempted murder, assault on a police officer, weapons possession and menacing, police said.

Two of the officers were released from the hospital Sunday.

Inside the apartment, investigators allegedly found a trove of illegal guns and ammunition, including a military style assault rifle.

According to the commissioner, the 9mm Browning semi-automatic was part of a multi-gun purchase in Wilmington, NC.

Foxworth also allegedly had a sawed-off military style mini-14 assault rifle with a scope stolen from Florida, a .22 caliber revolver that had been defaced and 50 rounds of ammo for the assault weapon, Kelly said.

"It was a good thing Foxworth was stopped," Kelly said.

The four officers who were wounded were the latest NYPD cops to be wounded in the line of duty this year.

Early Saturday morning, officers from Brooklyn's 76th Precinct — which covers Red Hook and Carroll Gardens — were fired on when they tried to question a man about an open container of alcohol.

The cops shot back, wounding the suspect, Kelly said. He was later arrested in Far Rockaway, Queens, although the details of that case were not immediately clear.

In January, Officer Kevin Brennan was shot in the head during a confrontation in the Bushwick Houses but survived.  

Then in February, Det. Herlihy was shot in the arm in a Harlem subway station as he chased a gunman wanted for shooting a woman in the face in Queens.

And last December, Officer Peter Figoski, a father of four, was killed responding to a robbery in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn.

Blood stains a car at the scene of a police shooting at 3301 Nostrand Ave. in Sheepshead Bay, where four cops were shot on April 8, 2012.
Blood stains a car at the scene of a police shooting at 3301 Nostrand Ave. in Sheepshead Bay, where four cops were shot on April 8, 2012.
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DNAinfo/Chelsia Rose Marcius

The mayor renewed his call for the federal government to crack down on illegal guns.

"We will continue to do everything that we can take illegal weapons off our streets, but until Congress wakes up and finds some courage to stand up to the gun lobby, illegal guns will continue to end up in the hands of dangerous people like tonight’s shooter, who had a small arsenal of illegal guns," he said.

Additional reporting by Jill Colvin

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