Two New York police officers shot; expected to live

Posted at 6:05 AM, Jan 06, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-06 06:05:27-05

(CNN) — Two plainclothes New York City police officers, responding to a robbery, were shot late Monday night in the Bronx — but they are expected to survive.

One officer, shot in the arm and lower back, was undergoing surgery early Tuesday morning. The other, shot in the chest and arm, was in stable condition.

Read more on the shooting from our sister station WPIX

Their names were withheld until their family members are notified.

“This is another indicator of the dangers our officers face in the line of duty,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “Thank God, these officers will recover.”

‘Extraordinarily brave’

The officers were near the end of their shift when a call came in about a robbery at a grocery store. The pair, along with three other plainclothes officers, ran to the scene.

“These officers did something that as extraordinarily brave and they did it as part of their commitment,” de Blasio said. “They came off their shift. Upon hearing this call, they went back out in search of these criminals.”

They spotted two men who were the suspected robbers, based on the descriptions called in to police. One was inside a Chinese restaurant; the other on the street.

When the officers identified themselves, the man inside the store came out and began firing, said Police Commissioner William Bratton.

The two officers were struck. In the ensuing gunfire exchange, one of the suspects may also have been struck, Bratton said.

The suspects ran away and hijacked a car. The car was later found abandoned, along with a black revolver.

The two men are still at large.

‘Rough neighborhood’

Sometime after the shooting, a man checked himself into an area hospital with a gunshot wound to the back. Police are trying to see if he is connected to the shooting — and until then aren’t calling him a suspect.

A $10,000 reward is being offered for information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of the shooters.

“This was a rough neighborhood in the 90s and it still is today,” said John Cardillo, a former police officer who patrolled the area. “Robberies were common when I worked there and there were many shootings. Armed bad guys with the propensity to shoot someone.”

Grappling with loss

The police department is still grappling with the loss of two officers who were killed as they sat in their squad car last month.

The deaths of Officer Rafael Ramos and Officer Wenjian Liu also created a rift between many rank-and-file officers and Mayor de Blasio.

Some officers have accused the mayor of encouraging anti-police fervor because of his support of protests against police brutality. Tens of thousands had taken to the streets after the death of African-American Eric Garner during an encounter with white NYPD officers in July.

At the funerals for Ramos and Liu, many turned their backs as de Blasio spoke.