Man Arrested for Shooting Cop in Morris Heights Melee

By Paul DeBenedetto on June 26, 2012 10:46am 

A green Toyota is towed away, still covered in little evidence tabs to mark bullet holes on July 24, 2012.
A green Toyota is towed away, still covered in little evidence tabs to mark bullet holes on July 24, 2012.
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DNAinfo/Aidan Gardiner

MORRIS HEIGHTS — Police have arrested a man in connection with the shooting of an off-duty cop in Morris Heights, according to the NYPD.

Jose Baez, 21, was arrested at 3 p.m. Monday. He's charged with shooting Officer Nelson Vergara twice on Sunday at about 4:30 a.m. as the officer and Iraq veteran made his way home from work.

According to officials, Vergara was parking his car near his family's home when he became involved in an argument with a group of drunk men. As the argument escalated, 17-year-old Adonis Almonte allegedly threw a bottle at Vergara, fragments of which allegedly hit the officer.

Vergara told the group he was a cop and pulled his service revolver, officials said. That's when Baez allegedly pulled up to the off-duty cop in a green Honda and shot Vergara in the shoulder and right shin. Vergara returned fire and allegedly hit Baez as he fled.

Vergara was taken to St. Barnabas Hospital. He was released on Monday, the New York Post reported.

Baez was taken to Bronx-Lebanon Hospital, where he was arrested. He's still being treated for his injuries, according to the Bronx District Attorney's office.

In addition to an attempted murder charge, Baez is charged with assault, criminal possession of a weapon and reckless endangerment.

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