10:39 p.m. | Feb. 4, 2016
By LAURA NAHMIAS and AZI PAYBARAH
Two NYPD officers were shot Thursday night in the Melrose Houses in the Bronx, while Mayor Bill de Blasio delivered his State of the City address in the borough at Lehman College.
De Blasio was not aware of the shooting, which took place shortly after 8 p.m., until after he finished his address, which had begun roughly an hour earlier. He and a contingent of other elected officials, including City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. and City Comptroller Scott Stringer, came to Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx where the two officers were being treated once the address was over.
The mayor, Patrolmen's Benevolent Association president Pat Lynch, NYPD officials, and the other elected officials who had come to the hospital following the speech held a press briefing in the lobby of the hospital to give an update on the officers' conditions and details surrounding the shooting.
In the briefing, the NYPD delivered some preliminary details about what had happened.
The two police officers, both of whom are housing patrol officers with two years on the force, were conducting a routine vertical patrol in a stairwell at 320 East 156th Street in the Bronx, at the Melrose Houses in the South Bronx, when they came upon two people in the stairwell. One individual produced a weapon and shot the two officers. One of the officers, a female, was shot in the abdomen. The second officer, a male, was shot in the face.
The suspect fled to an apartment on the 7th floor, where he died of what police officials said was a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police recovered a .32 caliber weapon they believed was used in the shooting, as well as a shotgun.
The police did not reveal the identities of either the two police officers who were shot or the suspect, or others who are being questioned.
Both officers are stable and alert.
"Our brave officers were doing their jobs tonight in our public housing on patrol, keeping residents safe," de Blasio said at the briefing. "Thank God, so far in both cases their condition is good. Both officers have been alert and communicating." The mayor said he had communicated with the family of one of the officers who was shot, and the other family was en route to the hospital.
City Hall said the investigation into the circumstances surrounding the shooting is ongoing, and several people are in custody and being questioned.
In his State of the City address, de Blasio touted a 34 percent drop in shootings in January 2016, compared to 2015. In January 2016, there were 59 shooting incidents, compared to 90 in January 2015.
While overall crime has dropped since de Blasio took office in January 2014, four officers have been shot and killed during his tenure in separate incidents.
In December 2014, Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were executed while parked in their vehicle in Brooklyn by a man who claimed he was avenging the death of police abuse victims. That gunman later killed himself.
In May 2015, Officer Brian Moore was shot while in his car after he and a partner drove toward a suspected gunman in southeast Queens. And in October 2015, Officer Randolph Holder was killed after being shot by a gunman he was pursing on foot in East Harlem.
During Michael Bloomberg’s 12-year reign in City Hall, ten officers were shot and killed.
"Once again, we're here at this hospital," Lynch said at the briefing Thursday night, alluding to previous officers who have been brought to Lincoln Hospital. "Fortunately, this time we're not getting the worst news. This goes to show the dangers police officers face each and every day. As always, we need your support, each and every day."