A rookie cop was shot in the leg by a sniper at a Brooklyn Housing project last night. Officer Jamil Sarwar is in stable condition following the late-night shooting, which started around 10:45. According to the NYPD, officers from the 75th Precinct, which includes Cypress Hills and East New York, were "stationed at a TerraHawk vehicle" in front of 1200 Sutter Avenue (Cypress Hills Houses) when they spotted an unidentified individual shooting at another person.
The officers called for backup and chased the gunman, but lost him inside the building. Officer Sarwar was on foot patrol with his partner, and as they responded to the call, they heard additional shots fired. But it wasn't until they entered a building at 365 Fountain Avenue that Sarwar realized he'd been shot in the right thigh. “He was shot by a sniper,” one police source tells the Post.
But at least officially, the NYPD says investigators are unsure if Officer Sarwar, who has been on the force for a year and a half, was the target or caught in the crossfire.
The ensuing manhunt brought a massive police presence to the gang-plagued Cypress Hills Houses, locking down several square blocks and hunting door to door for the gunman. The Post reports that some "60 police cars, nine NYPD crime-scene trucks, and helicopters arrived at the housing project" in an attempt to find the shooter or shooters. “I heard some yelling and someone said a cop got shot," resident Gabe Falton told the tabloid. “And then cops just flooded the area. I have never seen so many cops. They’re looking for some guy shooting down on the cop like a sniper.”
Police sources now say two people are being questioned in regards to the shooting.
[UPDATE] Mayor Bloomberg issued the following statement this afternoon:
“This morning, I visited with Police Officer Jamil Sarwar at Jamaica Hospital. He was shot last night while keeping the rest of us safe so we could enjoy Independence Day. Police Commissioner Kelly and I are very grateful that Jamil’s injuries are non-life threatening. He is stable and doing well.
“Officer Sarwar is part of the incredibly successful Operation Impact program that has helped drive crime down in our city. He was in the 75th Precinct on routine foot patrol in the Cypress Hills public housing development in East New York when he was shot in the leg. The police investigation into the suspect responsible for the shooting is still ongoing.
“Anytime one of our police officers is shot, it is a painful reminder that our success in fighting crime is fragile. Last year, 12 members of the police department were shot, and this is the sixth officer shot this year. We are fortunate that we have not had a fatal shooting since Detective Peter Figoski was killed in December 2011 in the same East New York neighborhood.
“But we cannot accept shootings as inevitable; we must do everything we can to stop them. When a young police officer is shot while on routine patrol on the Fourth of July, there is no clearer message that we need to continue to do everything we can to keep guns off our streets.
“That includes stopping guns from coming here from other states, and making it difficult for criminals to carry an illegal gun here in the city. It’s on days like this that I am thankful that this Police Department has used smart, pro-active tactics to take thousands of guns off our streets and pushed the number of teens carrying handguns down to an all-time low - the lowest rate in any big city in the country. They have saved thousands of lives while doing so.
“Last year, there was a record low number of shootings and murders in our city, and we are on pace to break both of those records this year. There is no doubt that these results are because of the tremendous job done by police officers like Officer Sarwar.
“But let me be very clear: now is not the time to walk away from these accomplishments. And it’s not the time to make it harder for police officers to protect us. And it’s certainly not the time to make it harder for officers to keep guns off our neighborhood streets.”