NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A 19-year-old made his initial court appearance late Monday, after member of the mayor’s police detail assigned to Gracie Mansion was apparently hit in the back by a shot from a pellet gun over the weekend.

As CBS2’s Valerie Castro reported, Michael Verbitsky, 19, left Manhattan Criminal Court Monday night escorted by his attorney after appearing before a judge.

The incident happened around 7:15 p.m. Sunday when investigators said the officer was getting out of the passenger side of a black Ford Taurus. That was when police said the pellet struck her in the back, just yards from Gracie Mansion.

Investigators said Verbitsky was with his girlfriend when he fired the pellet from his 10th floor apartment at 170 East End Ave., diagonally across the street from Gracie Mansion, CBS2’s Janelle Burrell reported.

The officer’s partner immediately looked up and noticed people peering out the 10th floor windows. When officers knocked on the apartment door, they say the couple slipped out a pantry door. Police eventually tracked them down nearby.

In addition to the most recent case, Verbitsky is accused in two other pellet gun shootings in the area last week that damaged windows on nearby buildings, police said.

Verbitsky had moral support at his first court appearance. His friend and a cousin sat in the courtroom and left without saying a word, and his father refused to speak about his son.

Verbitsky’s attorney declined to say anything on his client’s behalf, but inside the courtroom, the attorney judge told the judge Verbitsky accidentally fired the gun that he called “not a real weapon.”

As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, the NYPD on Monday was conducting an after-incident review of security at the mayoral residence after incident.

Mayor Bill de Blasio was not worried about the safety of his or his family Monday afternoon, Kramer reported.

“I have tremendous faith in the NYPD, and I think my security and my family’s security is being handled very well,” the mayor said.

While the NYPD will not comment on specific plans, sources told CBS2 that security to guard de Blasio; his wife, Chirlane McCray; and their two grown children, Chiara and Dante, is “robust” – to say the least.

The mayor said while he is very much worried about the officer who was wounded, he had no concern for his own safety – even though there are several tall buildings that overlook the home.

“We all understand what we signed up for, and obviously, my family is the center of my life,” de Blasio said. ‘But I have absolute faith in the NYPD. They are security experts, and we know they’ll take care of the situation.”

The officer who was struck by the pellet was getting out of her car on the street outside the mansion at the time.

Police sources told CBS2 that Verbitsky would not have been able to hit the mansion itself.

Still, neighbors were disturbed to learn someone from their own community is the alleged culprit.

“It sounds like a horrible thing and not something that I would think could happen in this neighborhood, but I’m just shocked,” neighbor Richard Francis said. “This is a very expensive co-op, generally considered to be a high-end building in New York it would be surprising that this would happen in a neighborhood like this, but anything can happen anywhere, right?”

“Very strange, it’s so safe in this area,” neighbor Scott Falk said.

Verbitsky is charged with assault on a police officer with a deadly weapon, reckless endangerment, three counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument, criminal possession of a weapon and two counts of criminal mischief.

Verbitsky told police that he purchased the pellet gun at a Walmart, sources told 1010 WINS. It’s not clear whether Verbitsky intentionally shot at the police detail, Burrell reported.

So far, his girlfriend has not been charged with any crime.

And even though the NYPD said it has a solid protection plan, officials said they are doing an after-incident review of what happened. Protection plans are routinely evaluated and tweaked, and this incident is no different.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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