An off-duty NYPD officer is lucky to be alive after he was shot in the head while he slept in his car between shifts on New Year’s Day, according to authorities.
The officer was taking a nap in his personal car in the police parking lot outside the 25th Precinct in East Harlem, New York City, after he finished a New Year’s Eve shift in Central Park around 2:30am on Saturday morning.
The officer, who was due to start his next shift at 7am, was struck in the temple by a bullet which travelled through the rear view window of his car.
NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell, who was sworn into the role just hours earlier, said that the officer woke up at 6:15am noticing pain in the left side of his head and the window of his car shattered.
The officer was treated at the scene by a fellow officer who noticed him with blood pouring from his head.
He was then rushed to hospital where he underwent surgery and had bullet fragments removed from his wound, the commissioner said.
Officials said the officer is in a stable condition in hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.
He has not been publicly identified, with officials referring to him only as Keith, a father-of-two and a seven-year veteran of the force.
No suspects have been arrested or identified over the shooting and no motive was given for the incident.
It is also unclear at this time if the police officer was targeted or if he was struck by a stray bullet during a separate altercation.
Commissioner Sewell told reporters on Saturday that the bullet appeared to have been fired “from a significant distance away”.
“It’s hard to tell who the intended target was, if any,” she said.
The NYPD is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the shooter.
The commissioner and Mayor Eric Adams held a press conference on Saturday afternoon outside the hospital after visiting the wounded officer.
The two officials, who were sworn in to their appointments just hours earlier after the ball dropped in Times Square at midnight on New Year’s Eve, both vowed to take a zero-tolerance approach to gun crime in New York City.
Mayor Adams said he will “aggressively go after those who are carrying violent weapons in our city”.
“We must not only find the gun but we must find the person who discharged the weapon and find the people who believe they are going to destroy our city with gun and gang violence,” he said.
He said today was a “happy but angry” day as the officer survived the attack which “could have turned out differently”.
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