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Mayor Has 'Absolute Faith' in NYPD After Security Shot With BB Gun

By  Aidan Gardiner and Jeff Mays | August 24, 2015 9:53am 

MANHATTAN — A teenager was arrested for shooting a police officer on the mayor's security detail with a BB gun at Gracie Mansion Sunday night, NYPD officials said.

Michael Verbitsky, 19, shot an officer in the back near the mayor's home at East 88th Street and East End Avenue about 7:15 p.m., police said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio was not home at the time, NYPD officials said.

The officer was treated and released from Lenox Hill Hospital, police said.

Verbitsky was arrested near his home at 170 East End Ave., police said. He had the pellet gun and three fake IDs when police detained him, an NYPD spokesman said.

He faces charges of assault on a police officer with a deadly weapon, reckless endangerment, criminal possession of a forged instrument, weapon possession and criminal mischief, police said.

A woman he was with was also questioned in connection to the shooting but was not immediately charged, police said.

Verbitsky has been arrested six times before, but an NYPD spokesman couldn't provide further details about five of those arrests.

He was arrested for a robbery in 2012, police said.

It was not immediately clear why he shot the officer, an NYPD spokesman said.

De Blasio said Monday that he felt comfortable that he and his family were being well protected.

"I have tremendous faith in the NYPD," the mayor said at a press conference at Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City. "I think my security and my family's security is being handled very well."

Asked if he thought about the threat posed by the tall buildings around Gracie Mansion, de Blasio said that he and his family had come into his position with their eyes wide open about the risks.

"We all understand what we signed up for and obviously my family is the center of my life," said the mayor. "But we have absolute faith in the NYPD."