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Police shoot armed man during gunbattle in the Bronx; 2 bystanders injured

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At a news conference late Wednesday, Chief Terence Monahan of the New York Police Department estimated that the two police officers involved in the confrontation had fired 20 to 25 rounds.

play Police shoot armed man during gunbattle in the Bronx; 2 bystanders injured

NEW YORK — The police shot a man during a chase and gunbattle in the Bronx on Wednesday night that rattled the University Heights neighborhood and also left a female bystander and a 12-year-old girl injured.

At a news conference late Wednesday, Chief Terence Monahan of the New York Police Department estimated that the two police officers involved in the confrontation had fired 20 to 25 rounds. One chased the gunman on foot, the other in a police vehicle, Monahan said. The gunman was struck twice — once in the neck and once in the foot — and was hospitalized but was expected to survive, the chief said.

The police said they had reviewed video evidence showing that the gunman, whose name was not immediately released, had performed a “drug rip-off” in the lobby of an apartment complex. The man fired at people in the lobby, Monahan said, and then ran out of the building.

Just after 6 p.m., plainclothes officers saw the man burst out of the building and come running in their direction, wearing a mask over his face and clutching a red backpack, Monahan said.

“As one of the officers approaches the individual, the suspect suddenly produces a firearm and shoots at him,” Monahan said. At that point, he continued, the officer chased the suspect on foot, exchanging gunfire with him.

The woman and 12-year-old girl were apparently injured by the exchange, Monahan said. The woman was struck by a single round in the stomach, he said; the girl was struck by bullet fragments in her leg. Both were taken to a hospital and were in what Monahan described as “stable condition.” He said it was not immediately clear whether the bystanders had been struck by rounds fired by the police or by the gunman.

The gunman was hospitalized after being struck by gunfire, Monahan said. A .25-caliber firearm and the red backpack were recovered at the scene, Monahan said. The backpack contained “a large brick of narcotics,” he said.

In addition to the rounds fired by the police, the authorities said, they recovered three rounds fired by the gunman — one in the lobby of the apartment complex and two on the street.

The police officers involved in the gunbattle were not hit by gunfire, but they were being held at a hospital overnight for observation after they had what the chief called “elevated heart rates.”

“This man was running down the street indiscriminately firing,” Monahan said. “He was shooting people in that building, immediately fired at the cops and continued to fire at the cops. So yeah, he was creating a dangerous situation.”

Residents and business owners in the area said they had heard a barrage of gunfire but could not detail what had happened.

“It was like, pop-pop-pop-pop-pop,” said one woman who lives on the block and ran from the shots. “Once you hear pop-pop-pop-pop you leave after that, honey.”

By late Wednesday, the police had set up a perimeter blocking access to the area.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

Matt Stevens and Nate Schweber © 2018 The New York Times

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