MELROSE, Bronx – Authorities say two NYPD officers have been shot and wounded by a gunman they encountered in the stairwell of a South Bronx public housing project they were patrolling, and the gunman has killed himself.
The shooting happened around 8 p.m. inside the New York Public Housing Complex, Melrose Houses at 320 E. 156th St., a few miles from where the mayor was delivering his State of the City address.
Police say three officers were on the sixth floor when they encountered two people. One person pulled a gun and opened fire, hitting one officer in the face and the other in the abdomen, before running into an apartment on the seventh floor. The third officer wasn’t hurt.
The two officers injured in the shooting are Diara Cruz, 24, and Patrick Espeut, 29.
Officers responding to the scene say they found him in the apartment dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Police say a handgun and a shotgun were recovered inside the apartment. A suspect, who has not been identified, is in custody and some people in the apartment are being questioned. The accomplice has not been charged as of Friday morning.
The officers were taken to Lincoln Hospital. Both Cruz and Espeut are in stable condition as of Friday morning.
The Democratic mayor raced to the hospital after being told about the shooting when he finished his speech.
“It’s another example of what our officers confront with every single day,” de Blasio said during a late night press conference at Lincoln Hospital. “Not only on the streets, but on the hallways and stairs ways of public housing.”
Four NYPD officers have been killed in the last 14 months, prompting Patrolman’s Benevolent Association head Pat Lynch to ask for public’s help.
“We need your support each and every day,” Lynch said. “We need your support when someone is carrying a gun. We need your support to teach young folks that pulling a gun on a police officer works for no one.”
Both Cruz and Espeut have two years on the force.
The name of the deceased suspect has not yet been released.
PIX11’s Doug Kahn contributed to this report.