Four police officers were shot in a fierce gun battle last night in Sheepshead Bay, but miraculously, none of them were critically injured.
The incident started at about 10:30 p.m., when police received a 911 call of a man with a gun at 3301 Nostrand Avenue, in the 61st precinct in Sheepshead Bay.
According to police, Nakwon Foxworth, 33, who was with his pregnant girlfriend and their four-month-old son at the time, had gotten into an argument with movers at the service entrance of the building and threatened one of them with a gun.
The mover called 911, warning police “He’s got a gun … he’s got a gun!” Brandishing the deadly weapon, Foxworth allegedly forced the movers back to their truck parked outside, and ran to his apartment on the sixth floor with the woman and child.
When police officers got to the building, they knocked on Foxworth’s apartment, 6-K, but got no answer. They looked in the peephole and saw Foxworth holding the woman and child at gunpoint.
As an ESU and the hostage negotiation team were in the process of taking up positions outside of the apartment, the woman suddenly opened the door and fled the apartment with the baby in her arms, according to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
She told the officers that Foxworth had been holding her hostage and was armed.
As the six-man Emergency Service team entered the apartment, they were immediately fired upon by Foxworth, said Kelly. He had emerged from a bedroom, firing a nine-millimeter Browning semi-automatic.
Foxworth allegedly fired 12 times, striking Detective Michael Keenan, 52, in his left calf, Detective Kenneth Ayala, 49, in the thigh and foot and Police Officer Matthew Granahan, 35, in his left calf. Captain Al Pizzano, 45, also sustained a graze wound to his face.
The gunfight occurred in close quarters, said Kelly, with the shooter and the officers no more than 10 feet apart. Although hit, Detective Ayala and Officer Granahan returned fire, striking Foxworth in the abdomen.
“It was a good thing Foxworth was stopped,” said Kelly.
Foxworth is now in critical, but stable condition at Kings County Hospital.
Cache of weapons found
Once the gunfire died down, police searched the apartment and inside, found a cache of illegal weapons. The nine-millimeter that Foxworth used to shoot the officers was part of a multiple-gun purchase in Wilmington, North Carolina, said police. He also had a sawed-off military style assault rifle equipped with a scope that had been stolen from Florida and a defaced, 22-caliber revolver, cops said.
Foxworth had a total of 50 rounds for his mini-14 assault weapon, said police, the same ammunition used by the U.S. military for M-4 and M-16 rifles.
Foxworth himself was released from prison in 2010, having served 10 years, for attempted murder and robbery, and selling drugs in prison. He previously served two years for attempted murder.
All four police officers were are currently at Lutheran Medical Center in stable condition and some may be released as early as today.
Eighth cop shot this year
Last night’s shooting marks the eighth time a member of the NYPD has been shot in the last four months. And this is the second time in the last 24 hours police have been fired upon, according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
“We got very lucky, with no life-threatening injuries to officers or innocent bystanders,” said Bloomberg of last night’s shooting. “But sometimes, as you remember, we aren’t so lucky, as we saw with the murder of Police Officer Peter Figoski in December.”
Last night police officers in the 76th precinct in Red Hook were also fired upon by a man they tried to stop and question for carrying an open container.
The suspect ran, then turned and fired at least twice at the pursuing officers, who returned fire, said police.
Fortunately neither officer was hit, but the suspect was and he was apprehended in Far Rockaway earlier this morning.