An off-duty New York City cop shot a knife-wielding man Thursday night after a bar brawl that started in the Strong Island watering-hole Napper Tandy's and spilled out into the street. John Gomez, 27, was one of the many witnesses in the crowded bar at 12:30 a.m. when two men began fighting in the front foyer.

The man who later would be identified as the off-duty cop apparently knocked down his opponent. Gomez told Newsday that the cop was ejected from the club and that bouncers tried to block his opponent and his two companions (one of whom showed a knife) from leaving the bar, but the three "ripped through a tarp-covered smoking area and ran to attack the off-duty cop."

"They were just pounding the little guy, beating that kid down," Gomez said, adding the cop did repeatedly say he was a cop. "When the guy swings the knife the last time, the kid jumped back, kind of jerked back, and that's when the gun goes off."

Police have identified the knife-wielder as Atiba Watkins, 23, of Central Islip (or as the locals refer to it: "C.I."). According to WABC News he was shot "once in the torso," and is now in critical but stable condition. The investigation is ongoing, but no arrests have been made. NYPD has not commented on the incident.