A Suffolk police officer shot and wounded a man being pursued on suspicion of drunken driving after the suspect dragged him with his vehicle during a traffic stop early Sunday morning, authorities said.
Police said 34-year-old Michael Shear, of Woodycrest Drive in Holtsville, was initially stopped by the patrol officer at the Sunwave Shopping Center on the corner of Waverly Avenue and eastbound Sunrise Service Road in Patchogue.
Shear drove off, dragging the officer who eventually broke free and got back into his patrol car before an approximately 3.5-mile pursuit began, ending with the shooting about 2:45 a.m. on North Ocean Avenue, just south of Long Island Avenue in Medford, police said.
“The man did not comply with officer’s commands and resisted arrest,” a statement released by Suffolk police said. “The officer discharged his weapon one time, striking the individual in the shoulder. The man is in stable condition at Stony Brook University Hospital.”
Shear was charged with DWI, with a prior conviction in 10 years; first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle; second-degree reckless endangerment and third-degree fleeing an officer in a motor vehicle, police said Sunday.
It was unclear when Shear would be arraigned and whether he had an attorney. No one answered the phone at his home.
Suffolk Police Commissioner Timothy Sini declined an interview request Sunday. The police department would not release additional details citing the ongoing investigation.
“There is a full and thorough investigation underway,” the release said. The department would also not release the name of the officer.
“During the initial traffic stop, the driver tried to leave the scene,” a police source said. “The officer’s arm got caught in the window, the officer was dragged for a period of time until he was able to free his own arm. He then pursued the driver again, and at that point was when the officer fired the single shot.”
Noel DiGerolamo, president of the Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association, described the suspect’s injuries as “non-life-threatening.”
Regarding the officer, DiGerolamo said: “He’s OK. We’re thankful his injuries were not more significant.”
A dozen Suffolk police cars and a police command post were on the scene examining a red SUV with what appeared to be a shot-out driver’s side window.
A Suffolk officer carried a brown bag marked “evidence” from the SUV shortly after 10:30 a.m. and a department truck then took it away.
Suffolk homicide detectives, who investigate police-involved shootings, were also on the scene.
With Lisa Irizarry