A stray bullet struck an off-duty NYPD officer from Suffolk County napping between shifts in a police precinct parking lot in Harlem on Saturday, according to the department.
The officer’s skull was fractured; he was recovering at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. There were no suspects, according to the new police commissioner, Keechant Sewell, the former chief of detectives for Nassau County police, whose first day on her city job was Saturday.
The shooting happened after 3 a.m. in the parking lot of the 25th Precinct, where the officer, whose full name wasn't disclosed, had moved his personal vehicle to nap after a New Year's Eve shift.
He was awakened after 6 a.m. by rain coming through the window, felt pain, and was bleeding, according to the NYPD chief of detectives, James Essig.
Mayor Eric Adams, an ex-NYPD cop who took office at midnight, visited the injured officer together with Sewell on Saturday. The officer has a wife and two children, Adams said.
"We are truly happy but angry," Adams said — happy the cop is recovering, angry because a bullet was fired under these circumstances.
"The person who discharged that weapon struck a police officer. They could have injured any innocent person that was sitting in their car or child playing, coming home from an event," Adams said.
Sewell said the cop had finished an eight-hour shift ending at 2:30 a.m., an assignment in Central Park, and was napping until a shift due to begin at 7 a.m.
"It appears that the bullet was fired from a significant distance away. It’s hard to tell who the intended target was, if any," Sewell said.
When he woke up, he felt pain, walked outside and encountered a sergeant on duty who noticed blood coming from the cop’s head; an ambulance was called, Sewell said.
Essig said detectives are reviewing video surveillance from nearby buildings and a Metro North railroad station, investigating rooftops, and taking other steps. "The detectives still have a lot of work to do," he said.
There was no activation of the ShotSpotter gunshot detection system, he said.