Originally Published: 31 AUG 23 13:52 ET
By WABC Staff
WOODSIDE, Queens (WABC) — An off-duty police officer was shot in the leg in Queens on Wednesday afternoon in what is being investigated as a possible road rage incident.
The officer was shot at the intersection of Queens Boulevard and 70th Street just before 1 p.m.
Police say it all unfolded when the 26-year-old officer tried to bypass a white minivan blocking the Queens Boulevard service road.
He exchanged words with the minivan driver, Edwin Rivera, and was eventually able to get by. But the two vehicles met up again.
Police say that’s when Edwin’s brother, Sean Rivera, ran over and smashed the rear window of the off-duty officer’s Kia Soul.
The off-duty officer drew his service weapon and called 911 as he held the two men at gunpoint next to his personal car. Officials say the officer identified himself as a cop and told the passenger he was under arrest, but the passenger resisted.
“He reholstered his weapon and was trying to control the subject with his hands,” NYPD Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey said.
Authorities said a scuffle ensued and both brothers attempted to grab the off duty officer’s service weapon as all three fell to the ground.
Police said the service weapon discharged twice.
Cell phone video obtained by Eyewitness News showed the moments when shots were fired.
The officer was struck in the left thigh. One of the brothers was shot in the hand and the other has injuries to his hands, which are believed to be from when he broke the glass.
Neighbors who have seen the video or saw it unfold themselves are calling it unnecessarily aggressive on the part of the two brothers, one in particular.
“He was yelling at people, you undercover cop this and that, I’m like, ‘buddy, that’s not the trouble you want to get into,’ and within seconds, every cop in Queens was here,” neighbor Ronald Stevens said.
The officer was taken to Elmhurst Hospital and was said to be stable. Both brothers are in custody with charges pending.
The off-duty officer has been on the force since 2018. He is assigned to the 81st precinct in Brooklyn.
The PBA released a statement saying the officer is going to recover and ” this incident highlights the dangerous environment on our streets.”
“We’re thankful that our brother is going to recover, but this incident highlights the dangerous environment on our streets, not just for police officers but for all New Yorkers,” PBA President Patrick Hendry said. “These two repeat offenders didn’t think twice about attacking a cop and trying to grab his gun. What will happen if our dysfunctional justice system spits them back out onto the streets again?”
Detectives are still trying to figure out who ended up gaining control of the weapon, but the cell phone video will be very helpful evidence.
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