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News :: Media
Security Police - Security Guard News - 2 New York City Police Officers Seriously Injured
15 Mar 2007
Two New York City police officers were seriously injured in separate incidents last night, one in Harlem and one in Brooklyn.

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A plainclothes police officer was shot twice and seriously wounded in a gunfight in Harlem with a suspect who was killed, the authorities said. The officer was hospitalized and expected to survive.

The gunfight broke out about 9:30 p.m. after the officer, Robert Tejada, 35, approached the suspect with three other officers at a small restaurant on Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard near West 136th Street called Café 22, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said.

Mr. Kelly said that a four-man team from the Police Department’s Anti-Crime Unit had been dispatched to the cafe after a detective who had been following the suspect for some time as part of a continuing investigation radioed his colleagues that the suspect had been seen with a gun.

When the officers entered the restaurant, Mr. Kelly said, they frisked the suspect, and discovered a 9-millimeter pistol. But a struggle began, Mr. Kelly said, in which the suspect managed to draw the gun and shoot Officer Tejada once in the chest and once in the ankle. The officers returned fire, shooting the suspect four times. He was taken to Harlem Hospital Center, where he died about two hours later.

Distraught relatives and friends of the suspect gathered outside the hospital early this morning. Charles Stevenson, who said he was the suspect’s father, identified him as Corey Mickins, 25, of the Soundview section of the Bronx. He said his son did some maintenance work and had a girlfriend.

Mr. Stevenson said that he heard from his son’s friends that he “was hanging on the corner at 136th Street. Police came up. They started checking him and pushing him around. He ran away and they started shooting at him after he ran. I guess he returned fire.”

Steven Mickins, 48, who said he was Corey Mickins’s uncle, called Mr. Mickins “just a good guy. He was never in no real trouble.” At a news conference at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, where Officer Tejada was in serious condition, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said the officer was a seven-year veteran and a former marine.

“He’s in some pain, but he’s doing fine,” Mr. Bloomberg said. “The surgeons said he’ll probably carry that bullet around in his ankle for the rest of his life.”

Mr. Kelly did not describe the investigation that resulted in the gunfight but said the suspect had prior arrests on assault and attempted murder charges.

The scene of the shooting was crisscrossed by yellow police tape as dozens of police officers converged there. The area sits at the heart of one of Harlem’s busiest districts, near the 32nd Precinct station house and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

Esynce Ealeey, 18, who lives a half-block away, said she was at home last night when she heard several shots. It sounded as if someone had opened fire and drew fire in return, she said.

“It was fast,” Ms. Ealeey said, “like pop, pop, pop, pop, pop.”

She said that a cousin, who was also at the house, went downstairs to find out what had happened and returned with the news that a police officer had just been shot.

Kenny Lantigua, 18, who works across the street from Café 22 at an International House of Pancakes, said he heard two shots and then watched a swarm of officers descend on the block.

“I heard boom, boom,” Mr. Lantigua said, “and I came out here, and in under five minutes there were cops everywhere.”

Charles Drum, 55, was standing in a liquor store directly across the street from Café 22 when he heard shots and someone ran through the door saying there was a gunfight inside the restaurant. Mr. Drum then said that everyone inside the liquor store jumped to the floor as another shot was fired.

At New York-Presbyterian, scores of police officers milled in the lobby and through the brightly lighted halls. More than a half-dozen squad cars had pulled up outside the hospital on Broadway, which the police had closed off between 167th and 168th Streets.

In East New York, Brooklyn, about an hour later, an officer was attacked on the platform of the J train in the massive Broadway Junction subway station, the police said. The officer and his partner had attempted to give a summons to a man, and asked another man, Hugo Hernandez, for his identification. Mr. Hernandez then slashed the officer in the face with a 6-inch knife, the police said.

The officers opened fire on Mr. Hernandez, who was injured and taken to Brookdale Hospital. Officer Angel Cruz sustained a fractured skull and was taken to Jamaica Hospital’s Trauma Center where he was in surgery early this morning. Fellow officers held vigil in the otherwise barren lot behind the hospital.

Early this morning, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly spoke about the attack on Officer Cruz, a rookie who had only been on the force for 14 months.

“This is a totally irrational act,” Mr. Kelly said. “A person responds to a summons for smoking with a six-inch knife.”

Kelly said the other man, who was being issued the summons, fled once Hernandez attacked Officer Cruz.

Officer Cruz managed to draw his service weapon and fire off five shots at Hernandez.

“He acted valiantly,” Kelly said of Officer Cruz’s reaction. “He was able to respond even after his skull was fractured.”

Ross Cunningham, 20, of Queens said he was reading his Bible while waiting for a Queens-bound J train when he heard four shots in a corridor above the entrance to the platform.

“When everyone heard the shots everyone took off running. There was chaos,” Mr. Cunningham said. “People were like, ‘What’s going on?’ Everyone knows what gunshots sound like. I knew what they were when they heard them, People just went with their instincts. They ran and I followed.” He said everyone ran to the head of the platform, away from the entrance. In the confusion, he added, he lost his wallet.

The police flooded the station and the surrounding streets and as the investigation unfolded early today, service on the A, C, L, and J lines was disrupted.

Reporting was contributed by Rebecca Cathcart, Daryl Khan, Nate Schweber and Matthew Sweeney.


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