Off-Duty NYPD Cop In Critical Condition After Alleged Assault In The Bronx

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — A New York City police officer is fighting for his life after being punched by a man who claimed to be acting as a Good Samaritan.

The officer was off-duty when he stopped to reprimand some kids playing on a Bronx Street. That’s when things took a violent turn, reports CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.

A patrol car was guarding the Fordham Heights home of officer Ernest Rodrigz, who was left critically injured in an incident that began with young people playing in the spray of a fire hydrant up the street.

Many residents said they were troubled by the incident.

“That’s crazy,” one neighbor said. “Whoever did this is a crazy animal.”

Police said Rodrigz was off-duty, in a car with his young son, when kids hit the Honda with a water balloon.

Rodrigz got out and approached the young people. That’s when 20-year-old Keith McNeill allegedly walked up and punched Rodrigz in the face without warning.

Rodrigz hit the ground and suffered a critical head injury.

The suspect told police he was acting as a Good Samaritan – that he saw a man confronting the kids and intervened.

Few in the neighborhood, however, accepted McNeil’s explanation.

“I think it’s very adolescent to do something like that, especially if you don’t know the circumstances of what’s going on,” Bronx resident Norman Randolph said.

“That’s very wrong,” neighbor Nicka Rodriguez said. “They shouldn’t fix problems that way.”

Officer Rodrigz was taken to St. Barnabas Hospital, where he remained in critical but stable condition Saturday night, surrounded by family and fellow cops.

Suspect Keith McNeill, who has four prior arrests, was charged with assault and harassment in connection to the incident.

More from Tony Aiello
  • Lou Bator

    I grew up in Fordham / St. Nicholas of Tolentine 40 years ago when it was an Irish neighborhood. It was not a ghetto area. That said, I am unfamiliar with the area Fordham Heights. Where is that?

    • Logan

      New Africa

  • kendra

    i don,t understand what was the reasoning behind hitting that officer in the face like that was that really neccessary at all?what happened to just talking to people unless people stop doing that a long time ago.i hope the officer pulls through this and my prayrs and well wishes go out to his family and close friends.

    • Logan

      He hit the officer in the face because violence is all ghetto animals know.

  • allsidesofthecoin

    I wasn’t there you weren’t there……so lets stop jumping to conclusion. If you want to create theories of what happened, start with both sides…..smh. Why don’t we ask the kids what happened that day……smh

  • Cassarit

    I wouldn’t automatically believe Rodriguez’ version of the event. He may have approached those kids very agressively. If I’m an adult and I see another adult approaching children in a threatening manner, I will stop him on the spot as well. And I won’t ask him any questions before that! Of couse with that said, if a kid throws a water balloon at me I will absolutely whip is little smart azz!

    • wellinsured

      Regardless if it was an off-duty officer or NOT thats the problem today – folks like yourself think the kids can not be repremanded for their wrongs especially when they are wrong – verbally aggressive at that point was needed – these kids were THROWING OBJECTS AT A MOVING VEHICLE – OH sure you’d think there is someone to come to their defense to smoothe talk to them yeah HA they looking at you like you a fool and as soon as you turn your back their back at it again.

      Can you imagine the further injuries that could have occured over these kids not being monitored while playing in an open hydrant – him screening out of control and run’n one of them over and yeah you get out your car and talk to them with a sweety pie tone LOL lets see how far that will get you – hmm more so a water bottle thrown in your face – kicks and dents to your car cus when you buttercup nice talk to them they get wilder and thats the problem – no one is repremanding these kids, no one is teaching them right from wrong, respect others and their property – but all the neighbors looking out their windows looking and laughn but when them cubs turn on them like a pack of wolves who do they call.

      I am sure you never sit in a park or work in a school and see how rude and outragous these kids are how about sit on a train or bus and endure their lovely respectful conversations they are just as aggressive and innocent as you may think this guys should have been to these kids THROWING BALLOONS AT A MOVING VEHICLE/someones paid property.

      Welp I for one will admit I WOULD NOT have gotten out my car n spoken NICELY n I am NOT an OFFICER.

  • Very conservative

    Liberalism is a mental disorder.

    Hope the officer fully recovers and the “good samaritan” gets (fill in the blank folks).

  • Mike

    Look, he didn’t “have it coming” and the thug with 4 priors had no right to sucker punch the guy. Little savages shouldn’t be acting up and throwing things at passing cars. That is the problem in ghetto areas, the parents, if they are even around don’t supervise, or care what their unruly offspring do.

  • John

    Another low life neighborhood savages wasting water, when a middle class homeowners struggle to pay their thousands of dollars water bills. Typical disgusting liberalism………………………………. Oh yeah.

  • Eric

    I’m sure the officer calmly went up to the children to counsel them on the impropriety of opening a hydrant or throwing water balloons at cars. I am certain he never got aggressive, threatening, or verbally abusive with the children. I can be certain of this because off-duty police officers always act professional and calmly and don’t carry a chip on their shoulder. HAHAHAHA YEAH RIGHT!

    • Tom

      Not a word about the injuries or the sick behavior of the “Good Samaritan’? Just cop bashing? You are an ignorant POS

    • Cassarit

      Well said Eric!

      • Micha

        Um, it seems like you are forgetting that this officer had his child in the car with him. I doubt he was overly aggressive and on top of that, throwing water baloons are a moving car is a good way to cause an accident. Jerkoffs…

  • ReverendFatAlbert

    I’m failing to see how punching a guy in the head for telling kids not to throw water balloons at his car is being a good samaritan. Especially when the guy throwing the punch has 4 prior arrests. It sounds more like he’s prone to acting like a violent animal than looking out for the well being of others. Stepping in and finding out what is going on is being a good samaritan. Stopping someone from physically harming someone else is being a good samaritan. Punching someone in the head over an argument is being a criminal, regardless of how his friends, family, and lawyers try to sugar-coat it now. He was being the ghetto animal he is and someone nearly lost their life because of it. It’s disgusting and he deserves everything he gets for this.

    • Tony

      Cop should have shot this animal for assaulting a PO.
      Then his family would be crying about how he’s changed his life around and just got a job i McDonalds….POS should get 25 years before he hurts someone else.

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