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2 NYPD officers shot in Queens subway gunfight

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2 NYPD officers shot in Queens subway gunfight

BY ALISON GENDAR, JONATHAN LEMIRE and BILL HUTCHINSON

DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS

October 21st 2008

 

alg_cop_shot.jpg

Savulich/News

Cops and medics rushed the wounded gunman to an ambulance Tuesday

afternoon after a wild shootout in a Queens subway station in which 2 NYPD

officers were also shot.

 

Two cops were shot in a Queens subway station Tuesday when a fare-beater they were trying to bust got his hands on of one of their guns and started firing.

 

Bullets flew through the 21st St./Queensbridge subway station just after 5 p.m., sending terrified rush-hour commuters diving for cover and scrambling for the exit.

 

A veteran police lieutenant working nearby responded heroically, ending the wild gun battle by shooting the suspect four times, police said.

 

READ ALSO: 2 GANG MEMBERS ARRESTED AFTER QUEENS 5-YEAR-OLD SHOT

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the two wounded officers, Jason Maass, 28, and Shane Farina, 38, were lucky to be alive.

 

Kelly identified the suspect as Raul Nuñez, 32, an illegal immigrant from the Dominican Republic who had been deported from the country in 2001 on drug charges.

 

READ ALSO: FRANTIC EFFORT TO SAVE SHOT COP RECOUNTED AT TRIAL

The commissioner said Nuñez began fighting with the two officers when they began handcuffing him.

 

"All three went to the ground. During the struggle, one of the officer's guns came loose," Kelly said. "Nuñez grabbed it, stood up and fired at both officers while they were on the ground."

 

He said Nuñez ran to an escalator, firing another shot at the wounded cops before losing a gunfight with a lieutenant.

 

Maass was shot once in the back, and Farina was hit in the sternum, Kelly said.

 

Farina was undergoing surgery Tuesday night at Elmhurst Hospital Center. He was in critical but stable condition. Maass is expected to be released today.

 

"I heard about six gunshots, and everyone just came running out of the subway," said Monique Robert, 29, of Queens, who was sitting outside the Long Island City station when the underground shooting broke out.

 

The subway station is next to the Queensbridge Houses, the city's largest housing project.

 

"People were so scared," Robert said. "They just ran."

 

The wounded cops were both plainclothes members of the NYPD's Transit Bureau 20, Kelly said. They were on a quality-of-life sweep, looking for fare-beaters and drug pushers, in an (F) line station at 21st St. and 41st Ave.

 

As desperate calls of "officer down!" cracked across police radios, Lt. Gary Abrahall, who was also working in the station, raced to stop the suspect, who was trying to flee up an escalator, the source said.

 

Kelly said Abrahall first spotted Nuñez enter the station using a student MetroCard that set off an alert light at the turnstile.

 

Nuñez did not look like a student, prompting Abrahall to alert his team to a possible fare evasion.

 

Abrahall radioed a description of the man to Maass and Farina, who stopped the suspect on the Manhattan-bound subway platform.

 

Kelly said Abrahall was the officer who confronted Nuñez, shooting him in the legs and torso. The suspect was in stable condition at Bellevue Hospital.

 

"Nuñez fired three times at the lieutenant," Kelly said. "Lt. Abrahall fired six shots, striking Nuñez four times."

 

Mayor Bloomberg met with Maass at the hospital, describing the officer as being in "good spirits" but concerned about Farina.

 

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said Nuñez will be charged with attempted murder. Brown vowed to prosecute the case vigorously.

 

Basheer Alomare, 33, a cashier at the Imperial Gourmet Deli above the station, said cop cars poured in from all directions following the shooting. Within moments, he saw paramedics emerge from the station with the two wounded cops.

 

"They brought out the two police officers on stretchers," Alomare said. "One was out cold and bleeding. They were giving him oxygen."

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Great job, this is what police work is all about! As the perp, have fun at Rikers in the hospital unit.

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My mom works Transit Police Radio and she heard that the two cops caught the perp but they hadn't cuffed him before they got the arrest warrant. So, if only they were more careful. :)

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