Police officers fatally shot an allegedly armed man, the fifth deadly police shooting in the last month, while responding to a harassment call in a Harlem apartment building early Wednesday. A uniformed NYPD officer was also shot during the "violent struggle," but the round did not penetrate his bulletproof vest, authorities said.
According to Police Commissioner James O'Neill, officers responded to a call at Frederick Douglass Boulevard and 148th Street just before 2 a.m., after a woman reported a man banging on her door and breaking glass. As eight uniformed cops fanned out over the building, one of them encountered a naked man wielding a pistol in a hallway, police said.
"A violent struggle immediately began and shots were fired," O'Neill told reporters this morning. "The officer yelled for help as the struggle continued and the other officers discharged their firearms striking the suspect several times. Our officer had been shot one time in the chest. The round did not penetrate his bullet resistant vest."
The man was pronounced dead at the scene, while the officer was taken to St. Luke's hospital.
It's unclear whether the officer was shot by friendly fire or the man, a 29-year-old whose name has not yet been released. Police say they recovered a 9mm millimeter handgun at the scene. O'Neill added that he had reviewed the body camera footage, calling it "extremely disturbing," before displaying the bullet-proof vest that stopped the slug.
"This is a situation, as you heard from the Commissioner, that our officers face every day in this city," Mayor Bill de Blasio said during the news briefing. "A call comes in and something absolutely unexpected happened. Our officer's life was in danger and thank God because of his vest, he's alive and he's well."
Five people have been killed by NYPD officers in the last month, and police have shot four people in the last eight days alone. Last Thursday, officers in the Bronx fatally shot an unarmed man during a routine traffic stop, claiming he tried to hit them with his car.
Cops also wounded a man accused of firing a gun at a Bronx subway station on Wednesday, and fatally shot an allegedly armed man outside the Gowanus Houses in Brooklyn the day before.
Two members of the NYPD—Officer Brian Mulkeen and Detective Brian Simonesen—have also been killed in friendly fire incidents this year.
The spate of high-profile shootings have prompted calls for additional firearms training for police, as well as criticism of the NYPD's current approach of responding to armed suspects.