Photo credit: Courtesy of NY Post via NYPD
Four members of the NYPD’s elite Emergency Service Unit were shot early Sunday during a wild shootout with an ex-con barricaded inside his Brooklyn apartment, police said.
Detective Michael Keenan, 52, was struck in his left calf while Detective Kenneth Ayala, 49, was hit in the thigh and left ankle during a 12:30 a.m. firefight with Nakwon Foxworth, 33, inside the suspect’s apartment building at 3301 Nostrand Ave. in Sheepshead Bay, said NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly.
Also hit during the 12-shot fusillade Foxworth squeezed off were Police Officer Matthew Granahan, 35, who was hit in the left calf, and Capt. Al Pizzano, 45, who suffered a graze wound to the face, Kelly added.
Their wounds were not considered life threatening and all four were taken to Lutheran Hospital.
"The gunfight occurred in close quarters with the assailant and the officers no more than 10 feet apart," said Kelly.
Foxworth — who served 10 years for robbery and selling drugs in prison – was hit once in the abdomen when Ayala, Granahan and another officer returned fire, police said. He is listed in critical but stable condition at Kings County Hospital.
Foxworth’s record also includes a 2-year stint behind bars for attempted murder.
The drama unfolded two hours prior when Foxworth started menacing employees of a moving company at the service entry of his apartment building, Kelly said.
"He argued with the employees and then threatened one with a gun. That man called 911 stating that, 'He's got a gun. He's got a gun,'" Kelly said.
Foxworth forced the movers back to their truck parked outside and then retreated to his apartment on the sixth floor, where he barricaded himself inside with his pregnant girlfriend and their 4-month-old son, Kelly said.
When officers responded, they talked to the building superintendant and tracked Foxworth using surveillance footage, Kelly said.
At about 12:30 a.m., six cops approached Foxworth’s apartment, peered through the peephole and saw he had taken the woman and the child hostage, Kelly added.
"The woman suddenly opened the door and fled the apartment with the baby in her arms. She told the officers that Foxworth had been holding her hostage and was armed," said Kelly.
As the six-man ESU team entered, Foxworth emerged from the bedroom and started blasting, Kelly said, hitting the four cops.
After Ayala and Granahan and one other ESU officer returned fire, hitting Foxworth, they took him into custody.
His girlfriend and her son were unharmed.
Foxworth used a 9-mm Browning semiautomatic handgun in the gunfight, Kelly said. He also had a sawed-off military style assault rifle equipped with a scope that had been stolen from Florida and a defaced, 22-caliber revolver, Kelly added.
Foxworth had a total of 50 rounds for his mini-14 assault weapon - the same ammunition used by the U.S. military in M-4 and M-16 rifles, Kelly noted.
Kelly characterized this as a "cache of weapons that speaks volumes about illegal guns." The 9-mm Browning was part of a multiple gun purchase Foxworth made in Wilmington, North Carolina, Kelly added.
“We have now had eight – that’s correct, eight – members of the department shot in the last four months. And this is the second time in the last 24 hours police have been fired upon by armed assailants,” said Mayor Bloomberg speaking at a press conference at Lutheran Hospital.
Police officers in the 76th Precinct, in Red Hook, were fired upon by a man they tried to stop and question for carrying an open container, Kelly said.
The suspect ran, then turned and fired at least twice at the pursuing officers, who returned fire.
“Fortunately neither officer was hit, but the suspect was and he was apprehended in Far Rockaway earlier this morning,” said Kelly.
That suspect's name has not yet been released.
The mayor added: “All the shootings have a disgraceful fact in common: all were committed with illegal guns that came from out of state. And that is the case with nearly every shooting in our city.”
“We got very lucky tonight, with no life-threatening injuries to officers or innocent bystanders. But sometimes, as you remember, we aren’t so lucky, as we saw with the murder of Police Officer Peter Figoski in December.”
“We will continue to do everything that we can take illegal weapons off our streets, but until Congress wakes up and finds some courage to stand up to the gun lobby, illegal guns will continue to end up in the hands of dangerous people like tonight’s shooter, who had a small arsenal of illegal guns."
Roy Richter, president of the NYPD Captains Endowment Association, also spoke out against the gun violence.
"It is an Easter miracle that no officers were killed in this barrage of gunfire," he said. "This incident highlights the flaws in our criminal justice system that a career predator is allowed to walk on our streets and have access to a cadre of illegal guns and ammunition."
Republished with permission of The New York Post