An off-duty detective fired his weapon in an attempt to foil a gunpoint robbery on an East Harlem street Monday morning, officials said.
The 38-year-old officer assigned to the NYPD firearms suppression division was at Park Avenue and East 122nd Street around 11:30 a.m. when he saw two men robbing a 29-year-old worker at gunpoint, police said.
The robbers had jumped out of a tan SUV — wearing black face masks and black hoodies, police officials said.
The detective witnessed what was taking place, drew his service pistol, identified himself as a police officer and ordered the suspects not to move, police said. But one of the suspects turned towards the officer with a firearm in his hand, prompting the detective to fire one shot, officials said.
The suspects then dropped their pistols, and fled on foot heading eastbound on E 122nd St, reentering the same tan GMC terrain with Florida license plate 8814AR , police said.
The vehicle was last seen traveling over Willis Ave Bridge into the Bronx. Police are seeking three suspects, the two gunmen and their driver.
It was unclear if either of the robbers were struck by gunfire, cops said.
The robbers managed to snatch the victim’s watch and cash before taking off.
Chief of Department Kenneth Corey commended the officer – a 12-year NYPD veteran – for taking action.
“He spends his nights going after the worst of the worst, the most violent in our community — those who carry and use illegal handguns against our citizens,” Corey said at a presser later at the crime scene. “Here he was off duty and once again, like so many of his colleagues, did not hesitate to go straight towards the danger and try to help a fellow New Yorker in need.”
Detectives’ Endowment Association President Paul DiGiacomo also lauded the detective for his actions.
“The courageous off-duty actions of our Detective comes as little surprise to the DEA,” he said. “While we face a crime crisis in New York City, the violent, armed criminal today in Harlem didn’t count on an NYPD Detective being there to do what they do best — protect New Yorkers at any cost. The city might be in turmoil, but that’s always a sure thing.”