NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The NYPD officer dragged by a car in Brooklyn over the weekend was fighting to stay alive Monday, while two of the teenagers who are allegedly involved appeared in court.
As CBS2’s Ali Bauman reported, Officer Dalsh Veve – a 35-year-old husband and father – was holding onto life by a thread Monday at NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County. NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said Veve is a “remarkable cop” and “fighting for his life.”
Investigators said it all began just before midnight Sunday when officers responded to 911 calls of shots fired at Tilden Avenue and East 53rd Street in East Flatbush – where a party was going on at the time.
“I’m hearing, ‘boom, boom, boom, boom, boom,'” said resident Dasean Bethea.
What they thought were shots turned out to be fireworks. But when Officer Veve approached a black car parked at a fire hydrant, which had been stolen from Long Island in May, the 15-year-old driver hit the gas, dragging Veve for two and a half blocks, police said.
“We believe he’s holding onto the door. At some point, he was inside… and he was dragged quite a distance, said NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce.
O’Neill said it appeared that Veve was able to discharge his service weapon twice while being dragged.
New surveillance video shows the speeding black sedan barreling down East 53rd Street and crashing into a pickup truck. Seconds later, Officer Veve, who was being dragged, is seen rolling on the ground.
The underage driver then rummages through the back seat before bailing, CBS2’s Janelle Burrell reported. He sprints away, turns back to the car, and runs away again.
“Someone yelled, ‘Go! Go! Go!” and everyone started running that way,” a witness said.
The teen driver was shot in the face, but once the car crashed, he and his passengers ran off.
In the surveillance video, Officer Veve is still on the ground between two cars when a man believed to be a plainclothes officer rolls Officer Veve, flips him over, and waits until a squad car pulls up. The man and other plainclothes officers load him inside, rushing him to the hospital.
“When the guy flipped him over to look at him, it looked like he was trying to cut his shirt open to see — and he looked like lifeless; like a doll,” a witness said.
The unidentified driver was arrested shortly after when he showed up at nearby Brookdale University Hospital Medical Center. He remained in critical condition Monday, and police had not yet been able to interview him.
Sources said the boy is a known gang member, has 11 prior arrests, and was on probation for robbery at the time of the incident.
“You shouldn’t have 8, 9, 10 (prior arrests) and the numbers keep growing, and be allowed to go on the street, where a police officer has to put herself or himself at risk to protect all of you,” said Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association Pat Lynch.
Meanwhile Monday night, two women who were passengers in the car, 18-year-old Jeronda Oliver and 19-year-old Eboni Clinton, appeared in court on charges of with hindering prosecution.
“If it was a mistake they would have stopped and rendered aid,” Lynch said. “But what they did was they ran – they helped the driver run.”
Prosecutors alleged that Oliver and Clinton fled the crash scene with the driver, took him to the hospital, took him to NYC Health + Hospitals Kings County, saw police there for the injured officer, and then arranged to have a car service take the teen to Brookdale instead.
The teen allegedly gave doctors a false name upon arriving at Brookdale.
“They stated they knew it was a police officer thrown from that car, possibly hitting parked cars on the way, and knew that that police officer was seriously injured, but nonetheless jumped out of that car, practically stepped over them to save their own skin,” Lynch said.
After the angry words came a moment of prayerful silence for the dozens of officers who attended the court appearance for Clinton and Oliver, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported.
Veve is a 9-year veteran of the NYPD and has a 2-year-old daughter.
“This is an exemplary police officer who for the last nine years has devoted himself to protecting the men and women of New York City, and took his job very, very seriously,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
Officer Veve, a native of Haiti, came to the U.S. as a small boy. His neighbors are joining his wife and daughter in praying that he pulls through.
“It is great to have a neighbor like him,” said neighbor Enzo Gioia. “You couldn’t ask for more.”
Sources said Veve had a massive head injury and damaged vertebrae. Aiello was told Veve was eased off of sedation for a brief period Monday, during which time he squeezed his wife’s hand and blinked his eye.