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NYPD Officer Shoots Unarmed Man in Marcus Garvey Park, Police Say

By  Ben Fractenberg Murray Weiss and Aidan Gardiner | September 4, 2014 3:09pm | Updated on September 4, 2014 6:12pm

 A 28-year-old man was taken to Harlem Hospital in critical condition, police said.
A 28-year-old man was taken to Harlem Hospital in critical condition, police said.
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DNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg

CENTRAL HARLEM — An NYPD officer shot and critically wounded an unarmed man after being attacked in Marcus Garvey Park on Thursday afternoon, police said.

The uniformed officer, whose name and age were not released, critically wounded the 28-year-old man after being "accosted" near the fire watchtower in the southern area of the park near West 120th Street and Fifth Avenue about 1:30 p.m., NYPD Deputy Chief of Patrol Jim O'Neill said

"As he's walking up the footpath at the top of the park he is accosted by a male. There is a struggle," O'Neill said.

The officer, who has been on the force since 2005, sprayed the man with pepper spray and tried to arrest him, the chief said.

"He tries to handcuff him and is unsuccessful in that," O'Neill said. "He gets away from our police officer, he runs about 150 feet down the path and there's another struggle. He tries to handcuff him again."

During the struggle the officer fired his service weapon and struck the man in the upper chest, NYPD officials said at the scene.

No weapon was recovered, but one man at the scene heard the altercation.

John Suver, 60, said he heard someone shout, "Go to the ground. Drop the gun," just before a single gunshot rang out.

The 28-year-old man, whose name was not released, was taken to Harlem Hospital in critical condition, FDNY and NYPD spokeswomen said.

The officer, who had been assigned to patrol the park, was taken to St. Luke's hospital where he was going to be treated for ringing in the ears, sources said.

The unnamed officer was assigned to patrol the park daily in response to complaints from the community, O'Neill said.

A man was stabbed to death in the park in mid-August in what police said was a drug related altercation.

Melson Judkins, 20, was charged with murder for knifing Timothy Goodwin, 41, near Madison Avenue and East 124th Street on Aug. 8, police said.