By Kiely Westhoff and Aya Elamroussi, CNN
An off-duty New York Police Department officer was shot in the foot Saturday in West Harlem, becoming the second off-duty NYPD officer to be shot in the past week.
In Saturday’s incident, the off-duty officer was shot as he exited a community center at the Manhattanville housing development around 4:30 p.m. after attending a vigil “for a very revered community member who passed away,” NYPD Chief of Housing Jeffrey Maddrey said during a news conference.
Two people were seen opening fire and it does not appear the off-duty officer fired his weapon in response, Maddrey said. No suspects have been arrested.
The off-duty officer began to feel pain in his left foot as he provided descriptions of the suspects to responding NYPD officers, and it was discovered he’d been shot, Maddrey said. He was taken to a hospital for treatment and is expected to make a full recovery, officials said.
Police added that it appears the shooting may be connected to a dispute that happened in the lobby of the community center approximately two hours prior to the shooting. The officer does not appear to have been involved in the dispute.
The shooting comes as New York City deals with a spate of gun violence and just days after another off-duty NYPD officer was shot during an attempted robbery in Queens while on his way to work in his personal vehicle.
Two suspects were arrested in the Tuesday shooting and the injured off-duty officer was stable.
“We have to stop this scourge of gun violence. We shouldn’t have to live like this. We’re not supposed to live like this,” Maddrey said Saturday.
President Biden and NYC mayor join forces to combat gun violence
New York Mayor Eric Adams, a former police captain, has also decried gun violence in the city since he took office in January, including a shooting in which two police officers were fatally shot while responding to a call.
The city was also left rattled after a baby narrowly survived being struck in the face by a stray bullet and the killing of a teenage cashier at a Burger King.
Adams — who made public safety through law and order a focal point of his campaign — met with President Joe Biden Thursday in New York and discussed the gun violence officials are struggling to combat.
“We need, as I stated, a 9/11-type response to address the domestic terror that is pervasive in this city and country,” Adams said in remarks praising Biden. “For far too long, we called for backup and it was not here.”
At the event, Biden rolled out a series of new policies designed to crack down on gun violence, including breaking the “Iron Pipeline” that delivers illegal guns to the city from more permissive states down Interstate 95. He also called for more money to be routed to local law enforcement around the country.
“Mayor Adams, you say that gun violence is a sea fed by many rivers,” Biden said, echoing an expression Adams had used earlier. “Well, I put forward a plan to dam up some of those streams. You can count on me to be a partner in that effort.
Last month, NYPD officers Jason Rivera, 22, and Wilbert Mora, 27, were fatally shot after a woman called police to report she was having a dispute with one of her sons inside her Harlem apartment, police said. The suspect in the shooting was armed with a stolen gun, officials said.
In response to those shootings, Adams proposed an anti-gun violence plan that includes a “newer version of modified plainclothes anti-gun unit,” the original version of which was disbanded in 2020 after being marked by allegations of aggressive tactics and police brutality.
Critics had derided the plainclothes units as counterproductive and argued they were a relic of the stop-and-frisk era of policing that more negatively affected Black and brown communities.
The officers in the new unit won’t wear uniforms but will wear jackets with police insignia, a slight departure from the past where officers were required to wear the shield.
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CNN’s Gregory Krieg contributed to this report.