Investigators may never know if it was friendly fire that wounded NYPD officer William Reddin last Saturday because doctors may not remove bullet fragments from his body, a law enforcement official said Monday.
Reddin, of Lynbrook, was scheduled to be released from Kings County Medical Center on Tuesday, a police spokesman said.
He was wounded in the hip after Frederick “Jamal” Funes, 34, opened fire on a group of cops after a vehicle chase in Brooklyn, police said.
Another officer, Andrew Yurkiw, of Wantagh, suffered blunt trauma after being struck in his bullet resistant vest by one round fired by Funes from a .357 Magnum, police said. Yurkiw was released from the hospital over the weekend.
Both cops were shot early Saturday morning after being part of group of officers who converged on a car Funes was driving in Bedford-Stuyvesant that had rammed a patrol car, investigators said.
As the officers surrounded Funes in his car, he and a number of officers exchanged fire. Funes suffered numerous gunshot wounds and was still in the hospital Monday.
After the initial shooting incident, NYPD spokesman Stephen Davis said it might be possible that one or both of the officers had been struck by friendly fire, particularly since several cops fired at Funes after he shot at police.
But Sunday, Davis said ballistic tests showed Yurkiw was struck in the vest by a bullet from Funes’ gun and that the fragmented state of the round that hit Reddin might make it impossible to determine who fired it.
A department official said Monday doctors may leave the bullet fragments in Reddin. It was unclear if the pieces were going to be removed in the future.
Firearms and police experts said the ammunition used by the NYPD, described as a 9 mm jacketed hollow-point round, had a tendency to fragment under certain conditions.
John Paolucci, a retired NYPD detective sergeant who did crime-scene analysis and is now a consultant, said bullets will ricochet if they strike a surface at a slight angle. But if the angle is greater than 15 degrees, a bullet such as that used by the NYPD may either embed itself in the surface or fragment, Paolucci said. Fragmented bullets can be difficult to match with a gun, he noted.
The handgun Funes was using also could have had hollow point jacketed rounds or other types of ammunition, which could also fragment, said Paolucci, a principal of the consulting firm Forensics 4 Real Inc. A police spokesman couldn’t say what kind of ammunition was fired from the suspect’s gun.
Joseph Giacalone, another retired NYPD detective supervisor who is now a teacher and consultant, said the bullet used in the police handgun is relatively lightweight. He also said that cops are not trained in live fire situations such as what occurred Saturday.
“The first time someone shoots at you, you can’t prepare for that until it actually happens, Giacalone said.