A veteran police officer assigned to the Queens anti-gang unit was shot in both legs last night while pursuing a man. According to Police Commissioner Kelly, Sergeant Craig Bier and his partner detective Nicholas Romano had tried to stop a man on a bicycle, who fled when he saw them. After a chase, the man fired at the cops from an alley, hitting 44-year-old Bier in the legs.

Bier and Romano had been traveling east on 107 Avenue and south on Jamaica Avenue when they saw the suspect. Kelly said:

He got off the bike and ran down a narrow alley between a house there and a tall, chain-link fence which enclosed a parking lot. It's believed the suspect climbed the fence, and jumped onto the roof of a white van that was parked in a lot in an attempt to escape onto 107 Avenue.

Sergeant Bier, who had already run back to 107 Avenue to block the gunman's escape route, exchanged gunfire with the suspect - who fired four times - striking the sergeant in both legs. Sergeant Bier returned fire - shooting six times.

Sergeant Bier collapsed on the sidewalk along the fence line. Detective Romano, who had been pursuing the suspect along the side of a two-family house at 167-12 Union Hall Street, heard the shots and ran to assist his fallen partner.

A Queens Impact team happened to also be in the area and, after hearing gunfire, arrived at the shooting location. They took Bier to Jamaica Hospital, and now he's alert. Kelly added, "Scores of police officers, including emergency service personnel, began an intensive hunt for the suspect. We are searching for a person of interest and searching for that individual now." There's a suspect in custody now, and they are looking for another individual.

The police found a 9mm Ruger in the back of 167-11 107 Avenue, near where the shooting took place. Mayor Bloomberg, who along with Kelly spoke to Bier's father and stepmother, said from the hospital:

Only one month ago, the Commissioner and I visited Officer Brian Groves, another police officer, after he was shot. Between then and now we have had two mass shootings in this country. Thirty-four people are being murdered in this country every single day with illegal firearms, and I think it’s fair to say we are still waiting for the leaders of our country and those who want to be the leaders of our country to stand up and tell us what they’re going to do about this.

In the next four years, 48,000 Americans are going to die from illegal guns - being murdered by illegal guns - and we just have to find a way to stop this. We all know that also included in those people, unfortunately, are likely to be people that are members of our families, our friends or a police officer who puts their life on the line to protect us.

The mayor also said, "We believe that whoever shot the cop, the gun probably was illegal. It certainly would be if he had a criminal record."

Pointing out that Bier has 65 medals, 14 of which are for meritorious duty, Kelly said, "This is the type of officer the public should thank God they have working for the New York City Police Department."