Suspect in Cop Shooting Still at Large
Here’s the latest this morning on the shooting of Police Officer Brian Groves at the Seward Park Extension housing complex. Following yesterday’s incident, the NYPD is still searching for the suspect, who fled down a stairwell at 64 Essex Street early yesterday morning after shooting Groves in the chest. Groves, who was wearing a bullet proof vest, will likely be released from the hospital today.
Cops released a sketch of the suspect yesterday afternoon. The man they’re looking for is in his early 20′s with a skinny build. He was wearing a long black t-shirt, long red basketball shorts with a cream-colored stripe. The suspect’s hair is styled in corn rows with beads in them. He was carrying a silver, long-barrel revolver.
Today, the Daily News published an op/ed from police Commissioner Ray Kelly. First off, the commissioner detailed what Groves was doing in the public housing development at 3:30 in the morning:
The New York City Police Department works every day… to improve safety where some of the city’s poorest people reside by assigning police officers to regularly patrol their buildings. That’s what Police Officers Brian Groves and Erick Corniel were doing early Thursday in the Seward Park Houses on the lower East Side, where there had been reports of drug dealing and disorderly people. About 3:30 a.m., they took the elevator to the 23rd floor, where they planned to descend to the lobby, walking down each flight and checking landings and hallways for any criminal activity along the way.
The officers were conducting what’s know as a “vertical patrol.” In the News, Kelly defended the practice, which has recently come under attack:
At Bellevue Hospital, Mayor Bloomberg and I visited the officer, and met his wife, Nicole, the mother of their two young daughters. Afterward, the mayor reminded reporters that the police and public are put at risk, not only by the gunmen themselves, but also by a Congress loathe to enact serious gun control, by jurists quick to overturn solid gun arrests, and by critics who hope to undermine the very tactics that have saved lives and made New York the nation’s safest large city. Police Department is even being sued to stop proactive policing practices like the vertical patrol that flushed the gunman from the stairwell in the Seward Park Houses… Those who try to force the NYPD to change course should be held responsible for the direction that change takes the city.
In a separate editorial, the News agreed whole-heartily with the commissioner, and defended the “vertical patrol” policy, which has been criticized as susceptible to racial profiling:
The undeniable truth is that, rationally , the NYPD concentrates on neighborhoods with the highest crime rates. Unfortunately, those happen to be minority areas. Consider the findings of a new study by the Reuters wire service. Reuters analyzed 3 million stops by police from 2006 to 2011. It turns out that 20% happened at or near public housing projects, even though the developments account for just 7% of the city’s residents. Why were stops out of proportion to population? The missing factor is crime: Felonies are heavily concentrated in the projects. One in five murders last year occurred at a project. So did one in five shootings. One out of every four guns seized by police was confiscated at or near a project. By the numbers alone, it is clear that police are targeting the right places for their most intense enforcement efforts. Of particular note: More than half the searches conducted in or near housing projects last year occurred inside lobbies, hallways and stairwells, the very place Groves was patrolling when a gunman almost took his life.
The Post also turned its attention to the practice, noting that 35 people have been shot in public housing developments in the past month.
More on the manhunt: Although Groves fired four times at the suspect, it was unclear whether he was hit. There was no blood trial. Officers visited every apartment in the building, and searched four units in the complex for evidence. The Times reported two men were seen being led away from the building in handcuffs. There are no security cameras at the Seward Park Extension; they aren’t scheduled to be installed until next year.
If you have information about this crime, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.