Two U.S. marshals and an NYPD detective were shot Monday afternoon when a gun battle erupted in a Greenwich Village smoke shop as the officers tried to apprehend an accused child molester, authorities said. The suspect was killed in the shootout.
The officers were shot shortly after 1 p.m. in Smoking Culture, a smoke shop on West Fourth Street, where officers were acting on tip that the fugitive was working there. The detective went in the store between Jones and Cornelia streets and confirmed that suspect was alone. When the detective returned with U.S. Marshals to make an arrest, the suspect, Charles Mozdir, immediately opened fire with a .32-caliber revolver.
"Mozdir fired upon the officers at very close range and the officers returned fire," Police Commissioner William Bratton said during an update from Bellevue Hospital.
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The detective, was shot twice in the stomach below his bulletproof vest. He was in critical but stable condition. One marshal was shot in the leg and the other was hit in the elbow. All of the officers were in good spirits, Bratton said.
Bratton said the vest may have saved the officer's life, preventing a bullet that would have struck his torso.
Mozdir is accused of sexually assaulting a boy he baby-sat in Coronado, California, near San Diego. The 32-year-old was recently profiled on "The Hunt with John Walsh," an "America's Most Wanted"-type show on CNN.
Mozdir was wanted on a $1 million warrant. He was charged with multiple counts of committing forcible lewd acts on a child and attempting to dissuade a witness. He skipped an April court appearance in California and his car was found in Georgia two months later. The trail went cold after that until officers acted on information that he might be in New York City.
His weapon was recovered at the scene. Mozdir had 20 more rounds in his pockets, police said.