An off-duty New York City police officer was hospitalized in critical condition after being shot during an apparent robbery as he tried to purchase a vehicle in Brooklyn on Saturday night, the authorities said. The shooting prompted a sprawling manhunt for the suspect.
The officer, whose name was not released by the New York City Police Department, had arranged over a social media platform to purchase the vehicle in person, Michael Baldassano, an assistant chief, said at a news conference on Saturday night. But when he arrived at the location with a relative, the suspect “displayed a gun and announced a robbery,” leading to an “exchange of gunfire,” Mr. Baldassano said.
When the officer, a five-year veteran of the department, was struck, the suspect fled, Mr. Baldassano said, adding that it remained unclear whether the assailant had been injured during the exchange of gunfire. The relative who had traveled with the officer was not injured in the encounter, the police said.
Mr. Baldassano said that while the police had “no reason to believe” the suspect knew that the target of the attempted robbery was an off-duty officer, it still remained under investigation.
Mayor Eric Adams, a former police captain who has made public safety a cornerstone of his agenda, said at the news conference that “it hurts a lot” to know that another officer has been shot.
The shooting comes as the city continues to grapple with concerns over violent crime. There were 433 homicides in the city last year, about an 11 percent drop from 2021 and the fewest since 2019. But high-profile shootings last year, such as a mass shooting last April on a crowded subway train in Brooklyn, and other instances of police officers being injured by gunfire have alarmed some New Yorkers.
“As we see so far, and so often in the city, too many illegal guns are in the hands of bad people and doing bad things,” Mr. Adams said.
Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said the officer was “fighting for his life” on Saturday night at Brookdale Hospital in Brooklyn. In the lobby of the hospital, officers cried and consoled one another as they waited for updates on his condition.
Near the corner of Ruby Street and Linden Boulevard in Brooklyn in East New York, yellow tape cordoned off the area where the shooting was believed to have occurred, and police vehicles swarmed the area.
“We will catch the person responsible for this act,” Mr. Adams said, noting that “for far too often,” he had appeared at hospitals to share news of such attacks on police officers.
On Jan. 1, 2022, a New York City police officer was shot while sleeping in a car outside a station house in East Harlem, hours after Mr. Adams was sworn in as the city’s mayor.
And a few weeks later, a single bullet fired by an armed teenager struck a police officer and the gunman as they scuffled during a confrontation in the Bronx.
Chelsia Rose Marcius contributed reporting.