A New York City police officer was killed in a shooting in Harlem on Friday and a second officer was in critical condition, officials said. They were the third and fourth officers to be shot in the line of duty this week, according to the Police Department.
The police initially reported that both officers had been killed, but later said one had not been officially pronounced dead by the hospital.
The police did not immediately provide information about what had precipitated the shooting of the officers, who were taken to Harlem Hospital. One suspect was also shot, officials said. Information on the person’s condition was not immediately available.
The shooting happened around 6 p.m. near the intersection of Lenox Avenue and West 135th Street. Within an hour, dozens of officers were in the area, which was sealed off by yellow caution tape and a half-dozen patrol cars.
Mayor Eric Adams — who had been in the Bronx earlier attending a vigil for an 11-month-old girl who was hit in the face by a stray bullet on Wednesday night — was headed to the hospital, a spokesman said.
The shooting of the officers was the latest in a series of crimes early in Mr. Adams’s term that is testing his vow to heighten public safety after increases in certain crimes amid the pandemic. Shootings especially have surged in some parts of the city.
The recent spate of violence has included the fatal shoving of a 40-year-old woman into the path of a subway train at Times Square station, the killing of a 19-year-old woman who was shot by a man robbing an East Harlem Burger King and the shooting of the baby in the Bronx.
On Tuesday, an officer was shot in the leg as he scuffled with a teenage suspect during a confrontation in the Bronx. And early Thursday, a detective was shot in the leg when a man fired through a door during a search for drugs at a Staten Island home, officials said. Neither of their injuries was life-threatening.
The shootings of the officers this week follow one on New Year’s Day in which an off-duty officer was shot in the head while sleeping in a car between shifts outside an East Harlem station house. He was treated at a hospital and released.
The last New York City officer to be fatally shot was Brian Mulkeen, who was killed by so-called friendly fire in September 2019 while he struggled with an armed man in the Bronx.
In October 2015, Officer Randolph Holder was fatally shot by a suspect he was chasing in East Harlem. The previous December, two officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, were killed while sitting in their patrol car in Brooklyn. The gunman shot them at point-blank range after traveling to New York from Baltimore intent on killing officers.
Lola Fadulu, Troy Closson, Dana Rubinstein and Ali Watkins contributed reporting.
— Ed Shanahan
The shooting deaths of two police officers in Harlem on Friday adds mounting pressure on Mayor Eric Adams to deliver quickly and effectively on the central thesis of his campaign for office: that only he, a retired police captain with 22 years on the force, has the know-how to restore a sense of public safety to New York City’s streets.
The Friday shooting caps the mayor’s third week in office, and his tenure has already coincided with a spate of violence that has riveted public attention. On Wednesday, an 11-month-old baby was shot in the face in the Bronx. On Saturday morning, an Asian-American woman was shoved in front of a moving train in Times Square, in the heart of New York City’s once thriving tourist district.
Then, on Friday afternoon, two police officers responding to a domestic dispute were shot dead in Harlem. The act of violence is eerily reminiscent of an episode during his predecessor Bill de Blasio’s first year in office, when a gunman assassinated two police officers while they were sitting in their police car in Brooklyn.
Mr. de Blasio ran on a platform of police reform. Mr. Adams, who was both a former police officer and police reformer, ran on the idea that he could rein in violence and reform the police at the same time.
He has yet to lay out a comprehensive plan for how he intends to do that.
Kenneth Sherrill, a professor of political science at Hunter College, recommended on Friday that Mr. Adams roll out such a plan quickly, particularly given the way the shooting deaths of police officers focus public attention.
These particular deaths “are like exclamation points culminating a horrible week of violence,” Mr. Sherrill said.