Sources identified the officer as 31-year-old Daniel Vargas, who has been with the department for nearly seven years and comes from a family of police officers.READ MORE: Police: 2 Men Wanted In Violent Queens Home Invasion Stole $3,000 From Woman At Gunpoint
Back in 2017, Vargas apprehended a person wanted for three commercial gunpoint robberies after just three years on the force.
“[He was] shot by a criminal carrying an illegal gun, and amazingly and thankfully, our officer is expected to make a full recovery,” Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said Wednesday.
This is the firearm the suspect had in his possession when our officers engaged with him. pic.twitter.com/MpVrXWMmwH
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) January 27, 2021
Police said Vargas and his partner stopped a 24-year-old man around 10:30 p.m. near Lafayette Avenue and White Plains Road in Soundview.
Within seconds, an officer fired a shot at the suspect, who police said returned fire at least four times. One bullet hit Vargas in his lower back — right below his bullet proof vest.
“The gunshots got me out of bed. Sounded loud, real loud,” one neighbor told CBS2’s John Dias.READ MORE: Police: 14-Year-Old Robbed Inside Bronx Laundromat
“They’re out here risking their own lives for us to protect, and some idiot comes out and shoots him? That’s uncalled for,” Soundview resident Wanda Lugo said.
WATCH: Police Commissioner Delivers ‘State Of The NYPD’ Speech, Hosted By New York City Police Foundation
Vargas is a member of the Gun Violence Suppression Division.
“It’s a group whose sole job is to seek out the most dangerous criminals, arrest them and remove them and those illegal weapons from circulation,” said Shea.
“Doing the most crucial work, the bravest work, defending us on the streets of the Bronx,” Mayor Bill de Blasio added.
Police said the suspect, identified as 24-year-old Ajani Jones, has several arrests in New York City, along with a criminal record in New Jersey. He now faces charges of attempted murder, assault, criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of stolen property.
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The commissioner said this incident drives home the need to stop the flow of illegal firearms and hold people more accountable.
“Over 400 gun arrests in the first three weeks of 2021,” he said. “When you do the math — 16 gun arrests a day. Even more shocking, that’s a 75% increase in the arrests versus this time last year.”MORE NEWS: NYPD: Man Charged With Murder In Quadruple Stabbing That Killed Good Samaritan
Jones was not hurt in the shooting. He is scheduled to be arraigned later Wednesday.