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NYPD officer struck by bullet while resting in personal car in police parking lot between shifts

The officer awoke to find the window of his personal vehicle was shattered, with blood dripping from a painful head wound

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By Michael Elsen-Rooney
New York Daily News

NEW YORK — An NYPD officer catching a nap in his car between two New Year’s shifts took a random bullet to the head outside a Harlem precinct early Saturday, authorities said.

The officer awoke in the parking lot outside the 25th Precinct to find the window of his personal vehicle was shattered, with blood dripping from a painful head wound, officials said. He was taken to New York Presbyterian Hospital, where bullet fragments were removed from his fractured skull, said police.

He was expected to make a full recovery from the bizarre shooting, as the closed window absorbed most of the impact. New Mayor Eric Adams, in his first day on the job, promised to rein in the citywide gun violence under his administration.

“This is not going to be a city of disorder, this is not going to be a city of violence,” said the ex- NYPD captain. “This city is returning from the violent past to a place that is safe to raise our children and families.”

According to NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig, the officer was awakened around 6:15 a.m. by rain coming through the broken glass and felt the pain in his head. When the cop exited the car, he and a sergeant found the deformed bullet.

The officer was asleep inside the lot on E. 119th St. after finishing an eight-hour New Year’s Eve shift in Central Park around 2 a.m., with a second tour set to begin at 7 a.m. Officials said he opted to sleep in the car because the precinct’s dormitory was filled.

The cop, whose wife was with him at the hospital, was not the target of the gunshot, which NYPD Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said was likely fired from some distance away. Bullet fragments were pulled from the car as well as his head.

“We know no other 911 calls for gunfire were reported in the area and none of the members of precinct who were outside at the time heard gunshots,” said Sewell, who was joined by Adams and other NYPD staff outside the hospital. “We are grateful that the officer is recovering because we know it could have been a tragic outcome.”

Cops were searching the area for video and checking area rooftops for ballistic evidence. The shot came through the rear driver’s side window as the cop slept behind the wheel.

The precinct parking lot was roped off as detectives collected evidence. No arrests have been made.

“This shooting shows that there are far too many guns in the wrong hands and too many people willing to fire them,” said Sewell, who has vowed to bring down gun violence in the city.

Pat Lynch, the president of the Police Benevolent Association, the city’s largest police union, said the shooting “shows the magnitude of the issues and the problems we face.”

“He was in a police parking lot and was still shot,” Lynch said.

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