Groping suspect shot by officer on subway

December 10, 2011 11:12:00 AM PST
An off duty police officer shot a groping suspect during a struggle on a subway platform in Harlem on Friday afternoon. Authorities said the man was identified by two teenagers as a groper who assaulted them in a Harlem subway platform.

First, a 13-year-old girl told her mother that a man had groped her ("mommy, the man grabbed me,") and the mother yelled for police.

An off-duty officer, a 19-year veteran of the force, approached the mother and daughter, identified himself. As he was obtaining information from them, another 18-year-old woman approached the officer and said that she too had been groped by the same man.

The victims indicated the man had taken the stairway from the main mezzanine to the uptown D platform.

The officer, as he descended the stairs to confront the suspect, asked the 13-year-old's mother to call 911 to report that a police officer needed assistance.

The officer approached the suspect, who was initially seated on a bench on the platform between the local and express tracks of the uptown trains.

A confrontation followed and witnesses said the suspect lifted the officer off the ground. Various witnesses described the suspect attempting to "body slam" or "flip" the officer, as the uptown express and local subways entered the station simultaneously.

In the struggle, the officer's gun went off, striking the suspect in the lower back. He was taken to Harlem Hospital, where he is in stable condition.

Police identified him as Jacob Sanford. They said the 22-year-old has 19 prior arrests.

Police found a folding knife on the tracks, which investigators said Sanford identified as his.

Sanford is facing various charges, including sexual abuse and resisting arrest.

The officer was transported to St. Luke's for trauma and released.