A Bronx cop wounded on the job early Tuesday was given a hero’s salute at a traditional NYPD “walkout” ceremony at St. Barnabas Hospital — with the partner who may have helped save his life wheeling him out amid applause.
Police Officer Paul Lee, 34, a three-year veteran of the force, was the first member of New York’s Finest to be shot in the line of duty in 2023.
Lee, a member of the 48th Precinct Public Safety Team, was led out of the hospital by partner Antonio Martinez before dozens of fellow officers on Tuesday afternoon.
It was Martinez who pulled Lee into their squad car and rushed him to the hospital after he was shot in the arm at around 3 a.m. — even as Lee tried to chase after the teen suspect and an accomplice.
“What we just saw was a police officer pushed out of this hospital by his heroic partner,” Patrick Lynch, president of the NYPD Police Benevolent Association said outside the Bronx hospital. “What we saw when we watch that body-worn camera and videos from shops, is a police officer realizing they were shot, still running towards the danger — running after the person that shot them.
“The partner realizing that his partner was shot jumped into action, drove the car, lights and sirens on, on the radio, giving a description, calling for help, and notifying Barnabas hospital,” Lynch said. “Professionals right till the end.”
The two cops were on patrol at East 183rd Street and Prospect Avenue around 3 a.m. when they spotted two people wearing dark ski masks, police said.
The cops approached in their patrol car to speak to the duo — when one of them opened fire, striking Lee in the left shoulder, NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said at a briefing.
The gunman fired “at least six times” before the pair fled, Essig said.
Cops returned fire, and Lee, although wounded, began to chase the fleeing duo before Martinez grabbed him and rushed him to St. Barnabas, police said.
An armed 16-year-old boy was busted nearby by other 48th Precinct cops “after a brief foot pursuit,” Essig said. He was later charged with attempted murder and criminal possession of a weapon.
About 75 cops lined up outside the hospital to honor the wounded officer.
Deputy Inspector Joseph Deleon of the 48th Precinct said the intersection where Lee was shot is known as a problematic spot in the area.
“That location we have had specific incidents with robberies, with gang activity, so they are heavily deployed into that location,” Deleon said. “They’ve arrested many people with firearms at that location.”
He said Lee and Martinez “did their jobs to the fullest.”
Last month, a 38-year-old Brooklyn cop was shot and wounded during a domestic dispute.
Veteran NYPD cop Orlando Adorno was handcuffing the suspect when the man got a hand free and shot the cop, wounding him.