A blood-soaked and damaged semi-automatic handgun used by a man left fighting for his life was found early Sunday in a shootout with cops — a gun battle that started over graffiti in the South Bronx, according to the NYPD.
A sergeant and two officers had pulled over a car East 153rd Street and Third Avenue just after 12:30 a.m. after seeing two men spray-painting graffiti, NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan said.
Both men in the car fled on foot, but one of the officers managed to grab one as he ran, Monahan said at a briefing.
“As the officer struggled with the man in an attempt to arrest him, the suspect pulled out semi-automatic handgun and fired at least three times at the officers,” the chief said.
“It was at this time that all three officers engaged the man, returning fire — striking him numerous times,” Monahan said.
The suspect — who was not identified — was in critical condition in Lincoln Hospital, Monahan confirmed. The three officers were evaluated at a local hospital but are “fortunately uninjured,” the chief said.
The other suspect was still being looked for Sunday morning.
“A .22 caliber semi-automatic handgun was recovered at the scene of the shooting,” Monahan said.
“The suspect’s gun does appear to have been shot and damaged during the exchange of gunfire.”
Monahan said he and the Department’s Force Investigation Division had already viewed the body-worn cameras of all three officers before he released his preliminary findings.
“Tonight’s shooting underscores the dangers our brave cops face every day as they keep people safe,” Monahan said.
“Whether they are stopping someone who is making graffiti or responding to a known shooting, there are just way too many guns out on the streets nowadays,” he warned.