NEW YORK (PIX11/CNN) — An NYPD detective hurt during a shootout that left an accused child molester dead was released from the hospital Wednesday, police said.
Detective Mario Muniz has been in the hospital since Monday when he and two U.S. Marshals exchanged gunfire with a fugitive outside a West Village smoke shop. He left the hospital Wednesday afternoon, met by a crowd of applauding colleagues.
Muniz was hit three times — twice in a bulletproof vest and once underneath, a source brief on the investigation told CNN. Also injured, the marshals were released from the hospital Tuesday.
They were part of a task force sent to execute a child molestation warrant at Smoke Culture Cigar Shop, located at 177 West Fourth St.
The subject of that warrant — 32-year-old Charles Mozdir — had been on the run for two years, the suspect in a 2012 child molestation case. Mozdir died in the gunfire.
He was wanted in Coronado, Calif., on suspicion of molesting a then-5-year-old boy who was ill with a high fever at the time.
After the boy's parents, who were the suspect's friends, reported the alleged abuse in 2012, investigators executed a search warrant at Mozdir's home and found evidence of child pornography and bestiality on his cellphone and computers, according to U.S. Marshals Service Deputy Brian Grimes.
Mozdir was arrested four days later and posted bail the next day. He had been accused previously of molesting a young boy who he was babysitting.
On June 15, 2012, Mozdir failed to appear at his arraignment and hadn't been seen since. Investigators think the suspect took all the money he had and fled, living off cash and "a good fake ID."
Mozdir indicated that he was considering going to Mexico or Japan during one of his last phone calls. His roommate told police that Mozdir had two guns and had threatened to kill himself and kill a victim's father.
The Coronado Police Department and the U.S. Marshals Service searched for Mozdir in Georgia and California, as well as the Mexican state of Baja California.
On June 20, 2012, Coronado police found Mozdir's abandoned vehicle hidden in the brush outside the coastal Georgia town of Darien. The license plate had been ripped off, and there was an extra gas tank inside.
A national audience first learned about the case against Mozdir July 20 on "The Hunt With John Walsh," a new CNN show highlighting cases of wanted persons.
The network re-ran the episode the day before Mozdir was found, thanks to multiple tips that led authorities to their man.