NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Officials say an NYPD officer who was shot multiple times while responding to a call in Brooklyn is alive thanks to his bulletproof vest.
The officer, identified by CBS2 sources as 30-year-old Hart Nguyen, was back at home with his family on Friday.
CBS2’s Tony Aiello was at the hospital as his brothers and sisters in blue cheered him on.
Nguyen gave the crowd a big thumbs up as he left the hospital following his brush with death.
His smile of relief was shared by his wife Lana, and his parents.
Police Commissioner James O’Neill said Thursday that the officer has been on the force for just over two years.
“Thank goodness, the officer is going to be fine,” he said. “They said recovery is going to take a while, but I saw the injuries, I spoke to him, spoke to his partner and they’re going to be fine, may take a little time though.”
It all began Thursday afternoon when the officer from the 75th precinct was responding to a call about an emotionally disturbed man on Ridgewood Avenue in Cypress Hills.
“The caller reported that her 29-year-old son was not violent, reported to be unarmed and present with her in the home,” O’Neill said.
The woman said her son was not armed, not dangerous — she was wrong. Police found weapons and a supply of ammunition after it was all over.
“I think he’s just real happy that he’s okay, and he’s really happy that he survived. Face the facts, reality is that he’s lucky her survived,” O’Neill said.
When the officer approached the back of the home with EMS, police said the suspect, identified as 29-year-old Andy Sookdeo, fired three times with a 380-caliber semi-automatic, striking him in the arm once and twice in the bulletproof vest.
“This vest definitely saved his life,” O’Neill said.
Police say after being hit, Nguyen did not return fire. Sookdeo then barricaded himself in the home for hours.
“What could have been just another day, just another call, turned into something much worse,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Smartphone video shows Nguyen moments after being shot, as he left 149 Ridgewood Ave his right forearm was covered in blood.
When the Emergency Services Unit made it inside, they found Sookdeo dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound with two guns laying by his side, along with ammunition.
Police are looking into how Sookdeo got the guns. They said he did not have a criminal history, and only one prior 911 call for fighting with his mother 12-years-ago.
Cops said they used a robot with a camera to track his movements before he committed suicide.
Neighbor Amil Pooni says he often saw the man sitting outside.
“If you talk to him, he like, ‘I’m stressed out,'” he said. “If you ask him what’s the problem, he never tell you.”
He can’t make sense of what happened.
“I don’t know what get to his head and what gets to his mind to do these things,” Pooni said.
“We’ve never seen an outburst from the family or from the son,” another neighbor said. “If something would have happened prior to this then we would have known, ‘OK this is Andy and this is what’s going on,’ but we’ve never heard of anything. I feel bad for the cop, but I also can’t say that his family is horrible, cause they’re a good family.”
Renters on the second floor spoke with CBS2, but asked to have their identity hidden.
They were shocked to learn Sookdeo had guns and used one on a cop before taking his own life.
“He was a calm peaceful person from what we seen,” they said.
Residents said it was frightening when the SWAT team surrounded the house. In the confusion they treated the innocent second floor occupants as possible suspects.
“I felt like I was gonna die at that second,” they said.
Nguyen was rushed to Jamaica Hospital and is already on the mend. He was released Friday.
“He had a great attitude trying to make light of the situation in his own hospital bed,” de Blasio said.
The police commissioner said the officer’s partner was also shaken up.