NYPD Sgt. Kevin Brennan of Garden City Park testified Thursday in the trial of the gang member accused of shooting him in the head in January 2012 that the gunfire caught him by surprise.
Defense lawyer John Burke grilled Brennan during cross examination Thursday, his second day of testimony.
Brennan was asked to recount his struggle with Luis "Baby" Ortiz, 23, on the stairs at 370 Bushwick Ave.
"I tried to tackle him but that's when he tripped and turned around on me," Brennan testified. "I didn't expect him to turn on me with a gun."
Brennan testified he then felt "something in my head."
"It happened so quick. I heard the noise and hit the ground. I assumed it was the gun."
Brennan was shot at point-blank range with a .38-caliber handgun behind his right ear during the struggle with Ortiz on Jan. 31, 2012.
Burke's questioning focused on Brennan's gun.
"Did you fire your gun that night?" Burke asked.
"I'm not sure if I fired it in the hallway," Brennan testified. "I definitely did not fire it before I went into the hallway."
Burke asked Brennan if he had his finger on the trigger while pursuing Ortiz.
"No," the sergeant replied. "You don't put your finger on the trigger unless you intend to fire." He said he refrained from firing his sidearm to avoid wounding bystanders.
Brennan was among three officers responding to a 911 call of shots fired. Brennan testified for about an hour before a jury of 12 women and two men.
Outside court, Brennan and his family declined to comment.
Brennan lost some peripheral vision and suffered spinal damage. He spent 10 days at Bellevue Hospital Center and underwent physical therapy on Long Island. He returned to work this year.
Edward Mullins, president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, called Brennan's story "amazing."
"He's back working after he survives an unbelievable life and death trauma," Mullins said. "He's a good-natured person . . . He did not fire his gun because he didn't want to shoot an innocent bystander."
Ortiz is charged with attempted murder and faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted. He also is charged with murder in the death of Shannon McKinney, who was shot in the head in Brooklyn a month before Brennan was shot.
The trial continues today.