The seven NYPD officers wounded so far this year -- including four on Sunday -- have already made 2012 the worst year for officer-shooting injuries since 2007, prompting officials to again decry the flood of illegal guns in the city.
During the same period last year, no officers were wounded, officials said.
"It is a reminder for us to go after illegal guns, not legal guns, illegal guns," Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters Monday.
The four officers wounded Sunday in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, were responding to a 911 call about a man with a gun at 3301 Nostrand Ave.
Inside his sixth floor apartment, ex-convict Nakwon Foxworth, 33, had a small arsenal of weapons, including a .223-caliber sawed-off military assault rifle with high-velocity rounds, police said.
"He could have done a lot more damage with a weapon he had no business possessing and has no legitimate civilian use," said NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly.
Foxworth, who had done time in prison for attempted homicide, fired 12 times at police with a 9-mm handgun as the officers entered his apartment, police said.
One of the officers, Det. Kenneth Ayala, held up a ballistic shield as he led three fellow officers into the apartment to confront Foxworth, said NYPD spokesman Paul Browne.
Moments before, Foxworth's girlfriend had fled the apartment with the couple's 4-month-old and, by opening the door, allowed the police to enter. Foxworth then started firing, police said.
"It was kind of a running gun battle," said Browne, who added that Foxworth fired below Ayala's shield at the officers' legs and ankles. Had Foxworth used the high-velocity ammunition against the shield, "the rounds would have penetrated the shield the first officer was carrying," Browne said. "The potential for a lot more bloodshed was great."
Kelly added that Foxworth appeared to be moving toward the assault rifle when he was shot down by officers, who fired 29 times.
"This was a close-quarter firefight, where the officers faced maximum danger and demonstrated consummate courage and skill," Kelly said.
Ayala, 40, who was shot once in the left thigh and ankle, was discharged from Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn Monday.
Two officers from Long Island -- Capt. Al Pizzano, 49, of Smithtown, who was grazed in the face, and Officer Matthew Granahan, 35, of Nesconset, wounded in the calf -- were discharged Sunday. Det. Mike Keenan, 52, was still hospitalized at Lutheran with a left calf wound, said officials.
Foxworth remained in critical but stable condition at Kings County Hospital Center. He faces charges of attempted murder in the first- and second-degree, aggravated assault upon a police officer and other charges, said a spokesman for the Brooklyn district attorney's office.
The spate of shootings of police officers this year doesn't include cases like one in Red Hook, Brooklyn, Saturday in which cops were fired upon but not injured after they approached a fleeing suspect who had an open plastic container.
In December, Officer Peter Figoski, 47, of West Babylon, was killed while responding to a bungled Brooklyn burglary, the first police fatality since 2007.