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Gunman Hunted For Shooting 2 NYPD Officers in The Bronx, Police Say

By  Trevor Kapp Murray Weiss and Aidan Gardiner | January 6, 2015 12:01am 

 Two police officers were shot by a robbery suspect in Fordham, NYPD officials said.
Gunman Hunted for Shooting 2 Police Officers
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THE BRONX — Two police officers were shot and wounded Monday night in Fordham during a gunfight with a man who had just robbed a nearby grocery store, police said.

The gunman remained at large Tuesday morning, but his 28-year-old lookout was apprehended after he was treated for a gunshot wound and released from New York-Presbyterian/Columbia hospital, sources said.

The plain-clothes officers spotted two men who resembled suspects in a nearby grocery store robbery about 10:25 p.m. near the corner of East 184th Street and Tiebout Avenue. As they approached, one of the men opened fire before the pair fled, police said.

One officer, 30, critically wounded after getting shot in the left arm and lower back, while the other officer, 38, was stable for a gunshot to the chest and left arm, police said. They were treated at St. Barnabas Hospital, officials said.

Suspect in Bronx Police Shooting
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The mayhem began when the two suspects, wearing masks and gloves, robbed Welcome 2 Yemen Deli Grocery at 363 E. 180th St., police and witnesses said.

"One guy had a gun. One had a knife. One of them said, 'Nobody move!' He had a bag and threw it over here. Then he jumped over the counter. I tried to run to get the knife, but he put a knife to my back," said Nooraldi Nalgabyli, 20, who was only minutes into his shift when the robbery began.

Surveillance footage from the store shows one of the thieves push Nalgabyli to the ground then carry him to the counter and open the register. Meanwhile, the other robber, armed with the gun, watched over two people lying on the ground.

"The other guy put the gun up to a customer. He told me to open the register for him. I gave him all the money we had," Nalgabyli said.

"It was scary. I thought I was going to die. I thought about my family and what's going to happen next," the clerk added.

Five officers with the 46th Precinct's Anti-Crime unit, including the two who were later shot, had ended their shift and were about to head home when a squad car radioed a call for a robbery in progress within their zone, sources said.

The five dashed out, some of them so quickly that they didn't have time to grab their service weapons or put on bullet-proof vests, sources said.

Ten minutes later, two of the officers spotted the suspects near East 184th Street and Tiebout Avenue as one of them stepped into a Chinese food restaurant there while the other waited outside as lookout, police said.

The suspects had changed clothes since the robbery, but were acting suspiciously so the officers approached, sources said. The lookout alerted his man inside who fired at the officers from inside the restaurant and ran, sources said.

"I heard three or four shots," said neighbor Alejandra Hernandez, 42. "They were one after another and very loud. I didn't know what happened. A little later, I heard a couple helicopters flying over."

The officers returned fire at the suspects who ran east to Marion Avenue, where they stole a white Chevy Camaro and escaped, police said.

They ditched the car near East 188th Street and Park Avenue along with a black revolver, NYPD officials said.

"I'm sad. I hope they feel better. I thank them for helping us. I hope they catch them," Nalgabyli said.

Investigators released footage of the shooter, who is still on the loose and sports a close-cropped beard, black hair and a black hoodie, as he talks at the counter of the Chinese restaurant and then runs out to shoot the police, the NYPD said.

The lookout, 28, managed to get himself to New York-Presbyterian/Columbia hospital where he was treated for a gunshot wound to his back, sources said. He was treated and released into police custody, but was still awaiting formal charges as of Tuesday morning, sources said.

The lookout is on parole for another Bronx robbery, sources said.

The NYPD was offering a $12,000 reward for information leading to the gunman's arrest.

Investigators raided a house they believe is connected to the robbery and uncovered 13 kilograms of heroin, sources said.

The incident comes about two weeks after detectives Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were killed in Brooklyn by a gunman vowing to avenge the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

Media outlets have reported that police officers have been reluctant to make low-level arrests in the wake of Liu and Ramos' deaths, but sources said the 46th Precinct officers who ran out at the end of their shift refuted that claim.

"So much for the slow down," one source said.

Hours before the shooting, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a 4.6 percent reduction in crime over the last year.

Anyone with information regarding the shooting should contact Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477).

With reporting by Janon Fisher