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Two LI officers recovering after shootout

Four New York City police officers, including two

Four New York City police officers, including two from Long Island, were shot in a close-range firefight with a man barricaded in a Brooklyn home. (April 8, 2012) Credit: Joe Marino/NYDN ; Handout

Four New York City police officers, including two from Long Island, are expected to recover from bullet wounds suffered during a shootout Saturday night with a man barricaded in a Brooklyn home, authorities said.

The man, who police said had been holding his girlfriend and an infant hostage in the Sheepshead Bay apartment, is in serious condition, police said.

The injured officers include Al Pizzano, 45, of Smithtown, and Matthew Granahan, 35, of Nesconset. Pizzano and Granahan have been released from Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn.

Two other officers -- Kenneth Ayala, 49, of Brooklyn and Michael Keenan, 52, of Staten Island -- remained hospitalized there Sunday in stable condition, officials said.

Police said the suspect, Nakwon Foxworth, 33, barricaded himself in his 3301 Nostrand Ave. apartment with his pregnant girlfriend and baby inside. When the girlfriend, who was not identified by police, managed to escape with the baby, officers entered the apartment and Foxworth opened fire with a semiautomatic gun, police said.

Officers returned fire, hitting the suspect, who is being treated at Kings County Hospital.

Eight members of NYPD have been shot in the last four months, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

"We got very lucky tonight, with no life-threatening injuries to officers or innocent bystanders," Bloomberg said.

Keenan was struck in the calf, Ayala in the thigh and foot, Granahan in the calf, and Pizzano was grazed in the face, police said. Foxworth and the officers were no more than ten feet apart during the shootout, police said.

Pizzano has been with the force for 25 years, Granahan for 11 years, Keenan for 28 years, and Ayala for eight years, police said.

The NYPD recovered a cache of weapons, including illegal guns, from Foxworth's apartment, they said.

Foxworth fled the scene, but was apprehended in Far Rockaway this morning, police said. He has not yet been charged, police said.

Foxworth also used a gun to threaten movers at the entrance of the Nostrand Avenue apartment building earlier in the day, police said. One of the movers called 911, and officers responded to the scene, police said.

"Foxworth had a total of 50 rounds for his mini-14 assault weapon -- the same ammunition used by the U.S. military in M-4 and M-16 rifles," Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said during a news conference Sunday morning.

Foxworth was released from prison in 2010, having served 10 years, for attempted murder and robbery, and selling drugs in prison, Kelly said, and previously served two years for attempted murder.

One of the wounded officers, Pizzano, lives in one-story white house on a quiet block with large trees in Smithtown.

A woman who identified herself as his wife declined to comment.

Their neighbors, Rose Marie and Jimmy Hodges, said both families moved into the neighborhood around the same time, late in 1991.

"Al is such a quiet gentleman and just a wonderful man," said Rose Marie Hodges, 51.

She said their son, Johnny, who is also an officer with the NYPD in the 79th precinct, was inspired by Pizzano when he was growing up. Pizzano was a mentor for Johnny, she said, who often looked to him for tips on succeeding as a cop.

When Johnny was in Iraq with the Marines, Pizzano would come by and ask about him and see how he was doing.

"I'm not happy to hear this," Rose Marie Hodges said. They had heard about the gun battle on the news but didn't know their friend and neighbor had been injured. "I know he has moved up the ranks and I'm very proud my son followed in his footsteps."

The Hodges said Pizzano works a lot, and that he would sometimes cruise his Harley motorcycle up and down the block.

The neighborhood is very tight-knit, Jimmy Hodges said. Neighbors get together during the holidays and watch out for one another.

"I'm so glad he's OK," Rose Marie Hodges said.

Tom Rondi, who lives across the street and a few houses down, was on his way to celebrate Easter with his family this afternoon. He said Al Pizzano is "a very nice guy, very neighborly, supportive of the neighborhood." They moved here 23 years ago and have been friendly with the Pizzanos since then.

At one point, Rondi's son Bryan, 26, was considering going into the NYPD police academy. During that time, Bryan said Pizzano was a mentor for him.

"He's very personable, friendly and easy to talk to," Bryan said of Pizzano.

Now, Bryan works as an EMS in Medford and volunteers in Smithtown.

"It's very shocking when it hits close to home," he said. "You really feel bad for the victims and their families, that there are people out there that are looking to hurt the people that are ultimately here to help them.

"I'm grateful he wasn't hurt any more than he was," said Rondi, 53. "Relieved and grateful."

In Nesconset, a woman who identified herself as Granahan's wife answered the door with a dog and three young children. "He's fine," she said of her husband, but would not comment further.

She said he had not yet returned home.

Granahan's home is a two-story house on a quiet street with a basketball hoop and a minivan in the driveway. There are children's chalk drawings on the pavement.

Several neighbors expressed concern for Granahan.

Stephanie Inzerillo, of Mildred Court, said Granahan spends a lot of time walking the family dog and playing with his three kids, playing basketball and supervising them on their bikes. He walks them to the corner and waits for the school bus with them, she said.

"He's a great guy, very family oriented. Always playing with the kids. He's someone you'd love to have as a neighbor," Inzerillo said.

Sunday morning, Bloomberg said at a news conference that the shootout illustrated that illegal guns remain a problem in New York City.

"While crime is down something like 46 percent in the 61st precinct since 2001, we still have too many people who have no business possessing a weapon who are armed on our streets," Bloomberg said.

-- With Candice Ruud and Emily Ngo

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