Off-duty officer wounded in gunfight

June 13, 2008 4:34:01 PM PDT
An off-duty correction officer survived a gunfight in the Bronx early Friday morning. Police say he was attacked by several men on Walton Avenue, in Mount Hope. One of those attackers may have been wounded in the shootout.Eyewitness News reporter Anthony Johnson has more on the story.

Police have been talking to a couple of people at a nearby precinct.

Residents say they lost a whole lot of sleep last night as their neighborhood turned into a gunfight.

"I heard the shot they were very loud," neighbor Luz Matos said. "I got scared and I thought that the shots were far, but when I realized and looked out the window, the shots and shell casings were there."

It was sheer terror as residents woke in the middle of the night to the sound of rapid gun fire

"It sounded like a big gun," another resident said. "I've heard shots before but this sounded like a big gun."

Officers rushed to the scene in front of 1791 Walton Avenue, where off-duty correction officer Jerome Batchelor was ambushed as he was packing up his car on the street. He was approached by two women and three men. They argued and bullets began to fly.

"I just got scared," Matos said. "I went to my room and said God I hope everybody's okay."

The officer lives in the building and may know some of his attackers. The 39-year-old officer was rushed to Bronx Lebanon Hospital, where he was alert and in stable condition after being shot twice in the arm and twice in the backside. The attack is alarming to residents of the area.

"A lot of people are just out, they just hang," resident Ky Franklin said. "It just draws a different type of crowd."

Batchelor is assigned to Bellevue Medical Center, and worked from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday. As for the investigation, police at the 46th Precinct are talking to two people in connection with the shooting. Batchelor joined the corrections department in June 2001.