The following are Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s remarks as delivered at Lutheran Medical Center Thursday evening:
“Good evening. Tonight – separated by a single hour – three of New York’s Finest were injured by gun fire in two different boroughs.
“We are here at Lutheran Hospital in Brooklyn, where we assembled because Police Officer Lukasz Kozicki and Police Officer Michael Lavay were shot by a man they were questioning after they saw him illegally moving between subway cars. The man opened fire on the officers – one of whom returned fire, fatally wounding the shooter.
“Tough enforcement of quality of life crimes on the subway – the work that these officers were engaged in – is a big part of how we’ve made New York the safest big city in the nation, and how we’ve dramatically cut crime on the subways and across the city.
“The doctors here at Lutheran have given both officers excellent care, and I’m relieved to report that both are in stable condition. Commissioner Kelly and I just met with officers and their families.
“And earlier tonight, we both visited Jacobi Hospital in the Bronx, because Police Officer Juan Pichardo was also shot responding to a crime. Police Officer Pichardo was off-duty in his family’s car dealership during an attempted robbery.
“During a struggle, a suspect shot Officer Pichardo, who was unarmed and shot in the leg. I’m relieved to report that the officer is also in stable condition, and he even had the presence of mind to apprehend one of the perps. The other suspects were later apprehended.
“In recent weeks, we’ve heard some people say that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. But sometimes the good guys get shot – and sometimes, they are killed.
“Tonight, thank God, three good guys – three New York City police officers, who acted heroically – are going to make it. But we owe it to the good guys to do whatever we can to protect them – just as they do whatever they can to protect us. Instead, Washington is letting the bad guys shoot our police officers, our children, our neighbors – and it just has to stop.
“Tonight, we’re just grateful that these three officers will be going home to their families.
“Commissioner Kelly will describe in more detail what happened. Ray?”
Remarks by Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly:
At 7:32 p.m., a lieutenant and three police officers assigned to Transit District 34 were in plainclothes on patrol in two separate cars of a Manhattan-bound ‘N’ train here in Brooklyn. Officers Michael Levay and Lukasz Kozicki observed an individual moving from the second car to the third in violation of transit regulations.
As the train approached the Fort Hamilton Parkway station at 62nd Street, the subject sat down toward the front of the third car. The officers approached, and asked him for identification with the intention of removing him from the train as it came to a stop. The male stood up as if to comply with the officers, and appeared to reach for his wallet.
Instead, he pulled a 9-millimeter Taurus handgun from his waistband and opened fire. Officer Kozicki, 32, was struck three times; once in each of his upper thighs and once in the groin.
A witness said that the gunman appeared to notice the officer’s bullet-resistant vest, and, as a result, aimed low before he fired.
Although shot in the lower back protected by his vest, Officer Levay, 27, returned fire, striking his assailant, killing him.
A passenger on the same car sustained a graze wound to the leg during the gun fight.
Fortunately no one else was injured, as passengers ran onto the platform when the gunfire erupted.
An hour earlier in the Bronx, as the Mayor said, at 6:30 p.m., Police Officer Juan Pichardo was working off-duty at his family’s car dealership when two men, one of them armed with a Bryco .380 handgun, entered the location. Two accomplices waited outside in a getaway car.
After the two feigned interest in buying a red Altima that was parked near the dealership office, one of them produced the gun and forced Officer Pichardo and a second dealership employee on to the floor in the small back office. They began to ransack the office, looking for cash and the safe, all the while brandishing the weapon in Officer Pichardo’s face.
A few minutes after the robbery, Officer Pichardo stood up and grabbed the gunman, who fired, striking the officer in the right thigh. Despite being wounded, Officer Pichardo and the other employee wrestled the gunman to the ground and disarmed him. The gunman’s accomplice fled with the two others in the getaway car, a white Impala with Oregon license plates.
Officer Pichardo held the gunman for responding officers, who recognized the gunman as a member of a Bronx robbery crew who they had been looking for. A short distance away, at 183rd Street and Katonah Avenue, police stopped the getaway car and its three occupants, placing them under arrest.
As both of these incidents illustrate, the historic crime reductions that New Yorkers enjoy come at a price. As the Mayor said, a dozen police officers were shot last year. And now three more, in the first three days of the new year. So thank God, that the doctors at Lutheran and Jacobi did their usual work, and all of these officers will recover.
(YWN Desk – NYC)