Two New York City police officers were shot and injured, one critically, when a Dominican man wrestled a gun away from one of them and opened fire in a Long Island City subway station Tuesday evening, police said.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said police officers Shane Farina, 38, and Jason Maass were shot by 32−year−old Raoul Nunez at the Queensbridge subway station shortly before 5:15 p.m. after they attempted to arrest him for fare−jumping. Lt. Gary Abrahall returned fire and shot Nunez four times, injuring him, police said.
Farina, a four−year veteran of the police force, was shot once in the torso and was listed in critical but stable condition at Elmhurst Hospital Tuesday night, Kelly said.
“We are optimistic he will recover fully,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who joined Kelly and Queens District Attorney Richard Brown at a news conference at Elmhurst Hospital Tuesday night.
Nunez was shot three times in the legs and once in the torso and was taken to Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan, where he was listed in critical but stable condition.
Maass received a graze wound to the lower back and was being treated for bullet fragment injuries to his pelvis, Kelly said. Maass was listed in stable condition and was expected to be released from the hospital on Wednesday, police said.
“I tried to joke with the two wives about Thanksgiving and who was going to cook turkey,” Bloomberg said. “But they do have a reason to be thankful.”
Kelly said the incident began when Nunez entered the Queensbridge subway station and swiped a student Metrocard. Lt. Abrahall, part of a four−man crime prevention team on duty in the station, noticed that Nunez did not appear to be a student and radioed down to Farina and Maass, who were on the subway platform to arrest him for fare−jumping.
After identifying themselves as police and informing Nunez that he was under arrest, Kelly said the officers were able to get one handcuff on the 32−year−old before he struggled with them and wrestled them to the ground, knocking one of the officers guns loose.
The commissioner said Nunez grabbed the gun, stood up and shot each of the officers once before fleeing up an escalator. He fired one more shot at the officers before he was confronted by Abrahall, who fired six shots at Nunez, hitting him four times, authorities said. Police said the entire incident lasted 45 seconds, and Nunez was subsequently arrested.
Brown said Nunez would be charged with attempted murder of a police officer. Nunez could face 25 years to life in prison if convicted.
“This underscores the dangers of police work,” Brown said. “It goes without saying that this case will be vigorously prosecuted.”
©2008 Community News Group
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