QUEENS - An NYPD officer was in critical condition Saturday night after being shot in the head by an ex-con while patrolling the streets of Queens Village, police said.
Officer Brian Moore, 25, was behind the wheel of an unmarked police vehicle near 212th Street and 104th Road at 6:15 p.m. Saturday when a suspect he and his partner had been tailing opened fire on his car, striking Moore in the head, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton told reporters at Jamaica Hospial Medical Center hours after the shooting.
Moore and his partner, Erik Jansen, had been patrolling the area as part of the 105th Precinct's anti-crime unit when they noticed ex-con Demetrius Blackwell, 35, acting suspicious by adjusting his waistband at 212th Street and 104th Avenue, Bratton said. The officers, who were plainclothed at the time, followed Blackwell less than a block before pulling their vehicle up behind him and "inquiring about his actions," Bratton told reporters.
Blackwell, who has a long rap sheet, including arrests for criminal possession of a weapon and robbery, then whipped out a gun — believed to be a revolver — and opened fire, Bratton said.
"Both officers were still seated in the vehicle and did not have an opportunity to get out or return fire," Bratton told reporters.
Moore, who joined the NYPD in July 2010 and comes from a family of police officers, was struck in the head and rushed to the hospital, where he was still undergoing surgery as of 9:45 p.m., Bratton said. Jansen, 30, who was not injured in the shooting, radioed for help, Bratton said.
Officers flooded the area in the wake of the shooting, closing off streets and canvassing the blocks for more than an hour and a half in search of Blackwell, police said.
Witnesses helped track Blackwell down to a home at 104-25 212th Place, police said.
Police have not recovered the weapon, Bratton said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, who joined Bratton at the hospital, decried the shooting but thanked those who pointed police in the direction of the gunman.
"This was an unconscionable act of violence, not just against one police officer, but against the city of New York and against the values we hold dear," de Blasio said. "Thank God because of the great police work you heard about a moment ago, the perpetrator is in custody, and the investigation’s fully underway."
"It’s a reminder of the dangers that all of our officers face every single day. But they are dedicated. They swore an oath, and they live up to that oath – men and women who go out every day and put their lives on the line," the mayor added.
Doctors said it could take a day or two to fully determine Moore's condition.
This is the latest incident in which NYPD officers have been shot in recent months.
Brinsley bragged on social media that he planned to kill the officers in retaliation for the police-involved deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown.