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Officer shot during altercation at Harlem apartment was struck by suspect’s bullet, not friendly fire: Authorities

Posted at 2:44 PM, Oct 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-24 21:24:48-04

NEW YORK — The NYPD officer who was shot during an altercation in Harlem was shot by the suspect, not friendly fire, police said.

NYPD police officer saved by bulletproof vest in police-involved shooting in Harlem on Oct. 23, 2019. (NYPD)

Officer Christopher Wintermute was among the officers who responded to a Harlem apartment building on Frederick Douglass Boulevard, near West 148th Street early Wednesday.

As responding officers fanned out to search the hallways of the building's second floor for the man, one of the officers encountered the suspect, later identified as 29-year-old Victor Hernandez, standing naked and pointing a 9mm semi-automatic handgun at Wintermute, according to authorities.

Police said a violent struggle immediately ensued and shots were fired.

Wintermute was shot one time in the chest, however the round did not penetrate his bulletproof vest, police said, adding that he was also punched multiple times during the altercation, resulting in injuries to his face.

As Wintermute, 34, yelled for help as the struggle continued and the seven other officers came and discharged their weapons, striking Hernandez several times, officials said.  The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police later confirmed that the round that struck Wintermute came from Hernandez's firearm.

Wintermute was taken to a nearby hospital in Manhattan for treatment of his injuries, the NYPD said, and was later released.

Hernandez was the superintendent of the apartment, according to police. He had at least six prior arrests for domestic violence incidents, with the latest reported in 2014.

Sources tell PIX11 Hernandez was the son of an NYPD police officer.

PIX11's Anthony DiLorenzo, Kirstin Cole, Nicole Johnson, Mark Sundstrom and Kristine Garcia contributed to this report.