2 NYPD officers shot in Queens, hospitalized with ‘very serious injuries’
Two NYPD officers were shot in Queens, New York on Tuesday by a City University of New York peace officer, police said, with both officers currently recovering at the hospital from their “very serious injuries,” the New York Post reported. Officer Christopher Wells was shot in both hands while his colleague Officer Joseph Murphy was bleeding immensely from a wound to his upper right thigh.
Police said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon that the CUNY officer, Rondell Goppy, had previously had his gun taken away from him after a domestic dispute but had it returned to him a few weeks ago.
Gunshots were fired by Goppy at 12:45 pm when he walked through the entrance of his home in Springfield Gardens, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said.
The two officers had escorted Goppy’s wife back to the couple’s apartment at 145-86 179th Street a minutes prior to the gunshots so she could collect her belongings so she could stay elsewhere after a violent domestic incident between the couple over alleged infidelity, police said. At that time, the suspect was reportedly already out of the house.
“The wife walked into the 105th Precinct this morning. She said her husband choked her,” a law enforcement source told The New York Post. “The domestic-violence officers went back with her to the house to get some stuff.”
The officers and Goppy’s wife were inside the apartment for about six minutes when “almost instantly, [Goppy] walks in through the front door and starts shooting at our two officers,” Shea said.
Officers then shot the suspect multiple times, killing him. After that, the wife called 911 to notify police that two officers were shot, sources told The Post.
A neighbor of the couple told The Post that she “heard about six shots” during the exchange of gunfire.
The officers were then hurried to Jamaica Hospital, where they were in stable condition with “very serious injuries,” Shea said.
Wells needed surgery on his femur, the commissioner said.
Wells is also the father of a 3-year-old and 3-month old and has been with the NYPD for 14 years, police said.
Murphy, who has served for six years, has a 1-year-old and recently found out that his wife is pregnant, the NYPD said.
The shooter was a security officer for the City University of New York and owned multiple guns. Those firearms were confiscated from him in July after a reported domestic incident, Shea and sources of The Post said. Law enforcement sources also told The Post that Goppy was given his guns back in September.
“There were prior domestic calls,” Shea said of the troubled 17-year married couple. “That will be part of the investigation going forward—why [Goppy] was in possession of those guns.”
Shea also mentioned that Goppy had no known criminal history and was a “licensed firearm handler.”
Additionally, sources told The Post that the wife called the authorities to report that he had taken her passport and credit cards.
While the wife was on the phone with the 911 operator, her husband could be heard in the background saying, “Are you calling the cops on me again?” before she hung up, according to the publication’s sources.
Tuesday’s shooting was preceded by four previous phone calls from their apartment regarding domestic violence, sources said to The Post.
Two handguns, a Glock being one of them, belonging to the shooter were found at the crime scene on Tuesday, sources said.
Further, Shea said the suspect had a third firearm registered to him as well.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was also at the conference outside the hospital, told the press that the two injured cops were doing “the Lord’s work” when they were shot.
“Today they saved a woman’s life … and I say, ‘God bless them,’” he said. “They have serious injuries, but ultimately, they will be OK.”
According to The Post, a local resident described all hell breaking loose on the street after the shooting, saying, “I saw the cops flying down the street. … They were jumping out of their cars and running, running, they didn’t wait to stop.”
“This is a tragic situation,” the man added. “And … right before Thanksgiving.”
Nicole Malliotakis (R), a state assemblywoman from Staten Island who was just elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, took to Twitter to talk about the dangers that law enforcement officers face when on duty.
“Very sorry to hear that these two #NYPD police officers were shot in the line of duty today,” the soon-to-be congresswoman wrote. “Thankfully they are in stable condition. This should be a reminder that our police officers cannot be replaced. The job they do is dangerous & specialized and they need all of our support”.
Prior to the close of business on Tuesday, this reporter reached out to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), whose district is also in New York City, but received an autoreply from her office’s email address and was sent to voicemail when calling her office’s phone number for urgent inquiries.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.