New York Daily News

February 26, 2014


 

Rookie NYPD cop shot in both legs in Brooklyn after attempt to bust bus fare-beater


Officer James Li, a 26-year-old December graduate of Police Academy and stationed at the 71st Precinct, removed fare-beater Rashaun Robinson from a B46 bus before he whipper around and opened fire, cops said.

By Kerry Burke , Rocco Parascandola AND Thomas Tracy / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

A rookie cop — just two months after graduating from the Police Academy — was shot in both legs Wednesday when he and his partner pulled a gun-toting fare-beater from a city bus.

Rookie Officer James Li, 26, and his partner Randy Chow were on routine patrol in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, when they spotted two men entering the backdoor of a B46 bus without paying. The cops boarded the bus, which was southbound on Utica Ave, about 5 p.m. and removed both suspects.

JIMMY ZITIS

Rookie Officer James Li, 26, is down after getting shot in both legs during shootout with fare-beating gunman at Utica Ave. and Empire Blvd. in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

That’s when all hell broke loose.

One of the men, identified by cops as Rashaun Robinson, took off running. Robinson, 28, allegedly whirled toward the officers, whipped out a .45-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun and from 10 feet away squeezed off three shots.

TODD MAISEL/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

A witness said 15 to 20 shots were fired between the police officer and the gunman in Crown Heights.

Li, who fired five times, was hit once in each leg and fell to the ground on Empire Blvd. inside a White Castle parking lot.

TODD MAISEL/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Bullets flew during a shootout Tuesday afternoon in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

“(There were) a lot of shots — 15, maybe 20,” said witness Jimmy Zitis, 50. “The cop went down. He was . . . faceup and bleeding. He was in a lot of pain. He wasn’t talking too much.”

The 30-year-old Chow, who let off two shots, wasn’t hit. Two off-duty FDNY EMTs, Khadija Hall and Shaun Alexander, were in a private vehicle when they heard the shots and jumped out to help the wounded cop. Chow radioed for backup.

Location

Witnesses directed pursuing cops toward Robinson, who ran west along Lefferts Ave. and then south on Schenectady Ave. Then he dipped down an alley and slipped into a building.

BRUCE COTLER/FREELANCE NYDN

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton (second from left) and Mayor de Blasio address the press at Kings County Hospital. They were the first to visit rookie Officer James Li.

Robinson, who has six city arrests on his record and a drug warrant from Pennsylvania, was busted on the fifth floor without more shots being fired.

Cops found the weapon used in the shootout on him, and Chow identified the perp as the gunman who shot his partner.

TODD MAISEL/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Cups mark spent shells as detectives try to determine who fired which shots in Tuesday shootout in Crown Heights.

“This was just a great piece of police work on the part of the initiating officers, as well as the pursuing officers and the apprehension of this suspect with a loaded firearm who showed no compunction whatsoever about turning and firing three times at the officers,” Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said.

“So a dangerous felon now off the street, another firearm off the street, all as a result of very good police work by two rookie police officers who I’m pleased to have as members of the New York City Police Department.”

DCPI HANDOUT

Cops recovered this .45-caliber Smith and Wesson handgun from Rashaun Robinson, the suspected gunman who shot a cop in Brooklyn.

Bratton and Mayor de Blasio were two of the first to visit Li — who is single — at Kings County Hospital. He’s the first cop shot in the line of duty since July 4 — when another rookie cop was shot, also in Brooklyn. Li is expected to make a full recovery.

“Commissioner Bratton and I had the honor of visiting some heroes today in their hospital rooms,” de Blasio said. “I have to tell you that Officer Li and Officer Chow really did everything we could conceivably have asked of them. They did everything a good cop does, and they’ve only been on the job for a few months. And yet they responded like seasoned veterans, and it’s something we as New Yorkers can be very very proud proud of.”

Chow was taken to the same hospital for observation. A third officer, who fell and cut her chin while chasing Robinson, was also treated at Kings County Hospital.

Li and Chow entered the Police Academy in July and graduated in December. They were on a foot post, as part of Operation Impact, in which neighborhoods are flooded with rookie cops. One of their duties was to keep a lookout for fare-beaters on city buses, Bratton said.

It comes on the 26th anniversary of the assassination of Police Officer Eddie Byrne, who was shot dead inside his police car at 107th Ave. and Inwood St. in Jamaica, Queens, as he guarded the home of a brave informant who had given cops information on crack dealers.

Charges against Robinson, whose rap sheet contains mostly drug busts, were pending Wednesday night.

With Chelsia Rose Marcius, Pete Donohue, Mark Morales and Erin Durkin

rparascandola@nydailynews.com