The police officer who was shot early this morning at the Seward Park Extension has been identified as 30-year old Brian Groves. He and his partner were responding to a report of “criminal activity in a stairwell,” according to a report on Channel 2. A short time ago, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said, Groves spotted a man with a gun as soon as they opened the door to the stairwell, on the 22nd floor of 64 Essex Street.
According to Kelly, Groves yelled, “Gun!,” and the suspect ran down the stairs. The officers pursued the man down the stairs, and at some point, the suspect turned around and fired. Groves was hit but a bullet proof vest saved his life. At a new conference, the police commissioner said, “Officer Groves is clearly lucky to be alive… He was shot from no more than eight feet away. He would have almost certainly have been killed if it wasn’t for his bullet-resistant vest.” Groves evidently did not realize he was shot right away; he continued to chase the suspect, who only got away when the officer fell to the ground.
There is still a heavy police presence on Essex Street. Police are posting signs like this one throughout the neighborhood, seeking information:
A short time ago, we spoke with Carmen Orta, the president of the Seward Park Extension Tenant Association, and her son, Al Vasquez. They both said police visited their apartment a short time ago, asking a lot of questions. They made references, Orta and Vasquez said, to his alleged police record. Both residents told us they do not know who the shooter might have been. Orta said she was up watching tv at the time of the shooting but did not hear gun shots (their apartment is on the 19th floor). Orta works regular shifts on the housing project’s tenant patrol, but no one was on duty when the incident happened last night.
Police said the suspect in in his 20’s, looked to be about about 5’9″ tall and has a skinny build and corn rows in his hair.
He was last seen wearing a black shirt and red shorts with a beige stripe running down the sides.
If you have information about this crime, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.
More photos from the scene: