A rookie Bronx cop on a footpost this morning chased down and arrested a gun-toting 17-year-old who, moments earlier, fired four shots into another man and left him for dead on a Mount Eden street.
The shooting victim, a 24-year-old Bronx resident, was hit in the head, left arm, right hand and abdomen, police said. He was taken by ambulance to Lincoln Hospital, where he underwent surgery and remains in serious but stable condition.
Surveillance video shows the victim walk out of a bodega at 253 East 172nd Street just after 12:30 a.m., and recorded Tyrell Johnson draw a firearm and squeeze off several rounds at close range on the sidewalk, police said.
From his Operation Impact post on nearby Sheridan Avenue, Police Officer Kelvyn Vargas, 31, heard the shots ring out and turned to investigate. Vargas saw Johnson - still pointing the gun at the collapsing victim - take off running in the other direction and gave chase.
Vargas, hired by the NYPD less than a year ago and assigned to the Bronx in January, shouted “Police, don’t move” at the fleeing suspect but Johnson continued to run along the street and turn onto Selwyn Avenue, police said.
Vargas turned the corner and saw Johnson dive into a large trash container, where the cop took him into custody without further incident. Vargas also recovered the loaded .22 cal High Standard Sentinel revolver.
Johnson, a Sedgwick Avenue resident, was charged with felony assault, and criminal use and possession of a firearm, and is awaiting arraignment at Bronx Criminal Court.
His criminal history includes an April 4 arrest at Walton Avenue and East 171st Street in which he was charged with narcotics possession, obstructing governmental administration and resisting arrest, police said.
We didn't write that news story, the NYPD did.
Usually the department issues media releases concerning notable police actions in sparse language. "On Wednesday, June 18, 2014 at approximately 1500 hours in the confines of the 46th Precinct, police responded to 1865 Morris Avenue for a person stabbed," a release concerning a recent homicide says.
But the media did not receive a release concerning the story about the rookie cop—in fact, "rookie" is the kind of colorful word you will not find in an NYPD release. Neither is "gun-toting," or the phrase "left him for dead."
Those words are perfectly acceptable on Facebook, which is where the department placed this story.
"Good Arrest" press releases issued by the department, which detail the heroic acts of officers, are also usually written in the same dry language, and are provided to the media before being posted on social media.
According to the Times, Zachary Tumin, who co-wrote a book on management with NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton ("Celebrate or Perish! Reaching Across Boundaries In A Networked World"), is serving as the department's Deputy Commissioner for Strategic Initiatives, and heads up the social media strategy for the NYPD. The department has also begun "tweet-alongs" detailing the happenings during the shifts of officers from various precincts.
We've asked the NYPD why the media didn't receive a release on the shooting first, and if they'll continue the practice. We don't expect a response.