September 21, 2021 11:16

NYPD officer saved by bulletproof vest during running fire fight with shooting suspect

Kerry Burke

New York Daily News

A Brooklyn cop was shot and wounded during a running gun battle with a gangbanger suspected of shooting two men, one fatally, minutes earlier, police said Thursday.

One bullet struck the 28-year-old officer in the back of his bullet-resistant vest late Wednesday in Bedford- Stuyvesant. He was also shot in the buttocks and has a leg wound that might be from the same bullet.

“The officer, thank God, is here, he is well and he is expected to make a full recovery,” NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said at a press conference at Kings Count Hospital. “He’s in surprisingly good spirits, thankful to be alive.”

The gunman, Boyce Hayward, 26, a member of the Young Stackers gang, was shot in the leg during the confrontation with police outside Saratoga Park and is in stable condition at the same hospital, police said.

The deadly chain of events sparked off about 11:10 p.m. Wednesday when a gunman ran up to a white 2015 BMW SUV stopped at a red light at Madison St. and Broadway in Bedford- Stuyvesant and opened fire, Shea said.

One man inside, Robert Randall, 28, was fatally shot in the chest and another, Malik Lucas, 21, was critically wounded in the chest and leg. A third man in the vehicle was not hurt. All three are gang members with arrest records, including pending gun possession cases for which they were not held on bail, NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said.

As the gunman fled the scene, leaving behind five 9mm shell casings, the SUV crashed into a nearby elevated subway pillar. Randal was taken to Woodhull Hospital, where he died. Medics rushed Lucas to Kings County Hospital.

About four minutes later, Shea said, a sergeant and two officers — all in uniform and in an unmarked car — saw Hayward about a quarter mile away walking quickly near Macon St. and Howard Ave. then “blading his body,” meaning turning as if he was about to assume a shooting stance.

“The officers stop their unmarked auto,” Shea said, “get out to investigate and immediately the male pulls a firearm, turns on the officers and begins to shoot.”

The sergeant did not return fire but one officer fired 12 times and his partner, who was shot by Hayward, fired 9 times. The shooting, captured on the officers’ body-worn camera, continued for about a half-block, police said.

“There were a whole lot of shots – different guns,” said Charlie Preyer, 75, a retired hospital worker who saw the chaotic scene unfold. “There were several bursts. There were six to seven shots, then a whole lot more.”

Several parked cars nearby were riddled with bullets, including a silver SUV with a person inside who escaped injury.

“One guy was lying on the street on Macon,” Preyer said. “He was still moving and they handcuffed him. The cop was face-up on the street and the EMTs lifted him up and put him on a gurney. It’s truly ridiculous. It’s out of control over here. These guys don’t care who they shoot.”

The wounded officer, who is married and lives on Long Island, was not immediately identified. His dad is a retired NYPD Brooklyn detective and his brother is an active sergeant assigned to the 19th Precinct on the Upper East Side, police sources said.

Hayward, who has “Pray for Me” tattooed on both hands, allegedly fired a 9mm at police, And Shea said that while a 9mm was also used to fire at the SUV, ballistics tests and a video review will help police determine if Hayward is the man who shot up the SUV.

It wasn’t clear if the three cops who confronted Hayward knew about the SUV shooting that had just happened. They were in the area because on Tuesday afternoon in Saratoga Park Aleen Reynolds, 22, was shot in his hip and wounded.

The cops are part of the precinct’s public safety team, which was formed after Shea last year disbanded the plainclothes Anti-Crime Unit.

Mayor de Blasio lauded the officers’ “extraordinary bravery.”

“They put themselves in harm’s way,” the mayor said.

But Pat Lynch, head of the Police Benevolent Association, said he’s tired of showing up at hospitals to visit cops who are in more danger than ever because “they changed the rules and laws that allowed us to do the job,” a reference to bail reform laws and various police reform measures.

The shooting, he said, disproves “that nonsense narrative that the police are the problem.”

“It puts that to bed,” he added. “We are the solution.”

Hayward has 12 prior arrests, six of them sealed, including a robbery arrest and a gun rap, sources said. He also has four drug possession charges dating back to 2015. His most recent arrest was in January, for DWI.

©2021 New York Daily News. Visit Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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