NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Two NYPD officers were shot Thursday night in the Melrose Houses development in the Bronx, and one suspect was killed by an apparent self-inflicted gunshot afterward.
Around 8 p.m., the officers were shot and wounded in a Melrose Houses building at 320 E. 156th St., at Cortlandt Avenue, according to police First Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Tucker.
Three officers had been conducting a vertical patrol in a sixth-floor stairwell in the public housing building when they found two suspects, Tucker said.
Police approached the suspects in the stairwell, and one suspect continued walking to the seventh floor carrying a black duffel bag, sources told CBS2.
The suspect with the duffel bag then turned around and fired two shots in the stairwell, striking two of the three officers, sources said.
One officer, a 29-year-old man, suffered a graze wound to the face and his condition was reported as stable, police said.
The other officer, a 24-year-old woman, was wounded in the torso and was in serious condition. She was in surgery late Thursday and was expected to recover.
Both officers were wearing bulletproof vests.
Following the shooting, the suspect with the bag ran into the apartment on the seventh floor, where he allegedly said to witnesses: “I just shot a lady cop. I am not going back to jail,” sources said.
The other suspect in the hallway took off running, but later turned himself into the 40th Precinct officers, sources said.
Police entered the apartment where the suspect was, and found four people in the front room and the suspect dead, sources said. He had apparently suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Tucker said.
Found on the dead suspect was a .32-caliber weapon with three spent rounds, sources said. Two of the rounds hit the officers, while the third round killed the suspect, source said.
The duffel bag found next to the suspect contained a sawed off shotgun, sources said.
The others in the apartment were taken into custody and were being questioned at the 40th Precinct station, police said.
Police sources said a total of five people were being questioned at the precinct on Alexander Avenue in Mott Haven, including the man who was allegedly with the gunman, CBS2’s Jessica Schneider reported.
Police said all five people were providing information to officers, and none had been charged as of 11 p.m.
Meanwhile, the officers were being treated at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center. Distraught family members rushed to the hospital alongside police escorts, CBS2’s Tracee Carrasco reported.
The officers both worked in Police Area 7, and have been on the force for two years, he said.
The identities of the officers and the deceased suspect had not been released late Thursday.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center that he had met with the family of one of the officers, while the other family was on the way.
“It’s another example of what officers confront every single day in keeping us safe not only on the streets of our city, but in the stairwells and hallways of our public housing developments,” de Blasio said.
The shooting happened less than five miles from where Mayor Bill de Blasio was delivering his State of the City speech. De Blasio rushed to the hospital immediately after delivering the address.
Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch also said the shooting was evidence of the dangers of patrolling public housing, and should serve as a reminder that police officers need public support.
“We need your support to teach your young folks that pulling a gun on a police officer works for no one,” Lynch said.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo also tweeted well wishes.
Back at the Melrose Houses, police officers flooded the neighborhood and helicopters were still circling above late Thursday night.
One witness told CBS2 he heard at least three shots, CBS2’s Brian Conybeare reported.
“I just heard a few very loud shots, and then probably started coming in from everywhere,” said witness Frank Olea.
There was a massive and immediate response as hundreds of officers converged on the scene, and at least three police helicopters hovered in the sky above.
“When I come down, all I see is a whole bunch of cops, helicopters all over the place, ambulance, more cops, people all over the corners — everybody was wondering what happened,” said witness Maty Satuey.
“You never know who it is, it could be somebody you grew up with, somebody you know,” one witness told 1010 WINS’ Darius Radizus. “So we came outside, we was like ‘oh, what happened?’”
The witness who spoke to Radzius reported seeing the injured officers.
“You could see how they brought the cops in the stretcher and one cop had blood all over them,” a witness said.
The Melrose Houses includes eight 14-story buildings with more than 1,000 apartments and nearly 3000 residents. Many of them were kept out of the building where the shooting happened as police searched for evidence and any more suspects.
“I just saw cops, you know, running around and they don’t let me get in, and they were running,” one woman said.
As of 11 p.m., residents were still not being allowed into the building where the shooting happened, but they were allowed to come and go from the other buildings.
Late Thursday night, about six detectives were seen bringing out a man in handcuffs wearing a white T-shirt, and taking him down the street to a squad car, CBS2’s Joe Biermann reported.