A Nassau police officer returned home Tuesday with his arm in a sling after police said he shot and killed a robber who attacked him at a Deer Park car wash.
A Suffolk police spokeswoman said the officer, who was off duty, was assaulted and robbed at the self-serve car wash on Bay Shore Road at 3:04 a.m. and that he shot at least one of the assailants. A second assailant was arrested later, police said.
The detective, 42, has been with the Nassau police 16 years, a law enforcement source told Newsday. Police have refused to identify the officer, saying he is a victim of a crime.
The shooting was about an hour after an off-duty NYPD officer shot an assailant who attempted to rob him in Elmont, police said. One suspect was arrested there, but another is still at large. Citing policy, police have also not identified that officer.
The Nassau officer would not comment to a reporter outside his home when he returned Tuesday.
"This isn't a good time," said the officer's wife, who accompanied him.
Witnesses who live near the car wash said they saw a baseball bat on the ground after the shooting. Police declined to detail the attack.
The two suspects have not been identified.
A witness who lives nearby but would not give her name said she heard four shots. Another said she saw a man lying on the ground moments after the gunshots - and said she saw "a plainclothes officer radioing for backup" after the shots had been fired. It was unclear what made the woman believe the man was a police officer or was calling for backup.
Witnesses said police cruisers and a search helicopter were on the scene in minutes.
It was unclear Tuesday if the helicopter was searching for the second suspect or if that suspect was struck by gunfire.
The area around the car wash was surrounded by yellow crime-scene tape, which extended down nearby Lincoln Avenue.
Unless charges are brought against an officer, an officer would not be identified for fear of retribution against the officer or the officer's family, a police spokesman said.
"They're off-duty, and they're victims of a crime, someone forcibly trying to steal their vehicles from them," Nassau police spokesman Det. Sgt. Anthony Repalone said.
"But also, they are authorized to carry a weapon and they're taking action as a police officer to terminate a crime in progress," he said.
Repalone said the investigations will determine whether deadly physical force was justified.