News

Police Identify Potential Gunman In Shooting Of NYPD Sergeant In Queens

Commissioner Ray Kelly Says John Thomas Is 'Someone We...Want To Talk To.'
An image of John Thomas is held by Police Commissioner Ray Kelly on Aug. 9, 2012. (credit: CBS 2)

An image of John Thomas is held by Police Commissioner Ray Kelly on Aug. 9, 2012. (credit: CBS 2)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said police are looking for a man they believe shot an NYPD police sergeant in both legs Wednesday night in Queens.

Kelly said Thursday afternoon the man they are seeking is John Thomas and identified him as “Someone we very much want to talk to.”  He added that an “investigation determined that me may be the shooter.”

Officials have now increased the reward for an arrest and conviction in the shooting to $22,000.

WCBS 880′s Jim Smith reports

A second suspect is also being questioned, according to 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria. Earlier, police had questioned someone who they identified as a “person of interest,” but was determined not to be involved in the case.

CBS 2 is reporting that police are still looking for the alleged shooter and a person of interest, who authorities believe helped the shooter.

Anyone with any information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). All calls are kept confidential.

DETAILS OF THE SHOOTING

On Wednesday, Sgt. Craig Bier and his partner — both members of an anti-gang unit — were on patrol when they tried to stop a suspect on a bicycle around 10:30 p.m. on 107th Street, police said.

Kelly said that when police tried to stop the person on the bike, another person ran off. They pursued the man who was running away, leading officers on a chase before that man turned around and fired directly at Sgt. Bier.

“We don’t believe at this time the person who did the shooting was on the bicycle,” Kelly said.

Kelly and Mayor Michael Bloomberg provided the details about the shooting during a news conference early Thursday.

“Sergeant Bier, who had already run back to 107th Avenue to block the gunman’s escape route, exchanged gunfire with the suspect — who fired four times — striking the sergeant in both legs,” Kelly said.

Bier, a 44-year-old who is a 15-year veteran cop, fired back before collapsing on the sidewalk, police said.

Police said the suspect then tossed a 9 mm pistol on the ground and ran off, leaving Bier bleeding on the ground as fellow officers rushed to help.

Bier was taken to the hospital by members of a Queens South Impact team who were nearby and heard the gunshots. One cop who is a certified EMT applied pressure to Bier’s wounds. He remains in stable condition, police said.

“Here we are once again at a hospital,” Mayor Bloomberg said at Jamaica Hospital. “Another night and another shooting of one of our Finest.”

WCBS 880′s Alex Silverman reports

Bier is the 10th New York City cop to be shot this year. Kelly and Bloomberg visited with him at the hospital and said they spoke with the sergeant’s family.

“Thank God the officer will recover,” Bloomberg said. “He’s the kind of guy that you want out there. Don’t know that I’ve ever talked to anybody as enthusiastic about his job.”

gun2 Police Identify Potential Gunman In Shooting Of NYPD Sergeant In Queens

The gun police said a suspect used to shoot NYPD Sgt. Craig Bier in both legs on Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012 (credit: CBS 2)

WOUNDED OFFICER’S MOTHER SPEAKS OUT

Bier’s mother, Betty, told WCBS 880′s Sophia Hall it was gut-wrenching to get a call saying her son had been shot.

“Not good for a mother. Horrible. I had no heart, no stomach, no nothing,” she said.

WCBS 880′s Sophia Hall has reaction from Sgt. Bier’s mother

But when she got to the hospital, she said her son was in good spirits.

“He loves the job, loves the job. He’ll be back on the job, he loves it. He’s just like his father,” who’s a retired NYPD detective who was also shot in the line of duty years ago, Betty Bier said.

1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria With More From Sgt. Bier’s Mother

Betty Bier said her son was worried about his family.

“His thought was ‘Oh my God, it’s my son. I have to raise my son,’” she said.

“We believe that whoever shot the cop, the gun probably was illegal,” Bloomberg said. “It certainly would be if he had a criminal record.”

Kelly said Sgt. Bier has a total of 65 medals, including 14 for meritorious police duty.

1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reports

THE ‘VIOLENCE NEEDS TO STOP’

Meanwhile, anti-gun violence advocates held a rally at the scene of the shooting in Jamaica on Thursday morning to denounce the shooting.

“Whether it’s a police officer or a regular person in our community, at the end of the day, this gun violence needs to stop,” community activist Tony Herbert said.

“No plea bargaining, a mandatory 10-year sentence if a person is caught and convicted of discharging a firearm,” added Harold Crawford with 100 Blacks In Law Enforcement.

Please share your thoughts below…