Off-duty correction officer shot outside Queens diner

March 20, 2012 9:08:40 AM PDT
New York City police are on the hunt for the gunman who shot an off-duty correction officer outside a popular diner in Queens.

A troubling text message apparently led to the shooting, which happened just before 11 p.m. outside the USA Diner on Merrick Boulevard in the Rosedale section.

The female officer, who works at a women's facility on Rikers Island, was inside the diner with a man for just a short period of time before the message arrived. The couple had just ordered a cup of tea before witnesses said they abruptly got up to leave.

A few minutes later, after the couple apparently got in an argument, several shots were fired. The 28-year-old woman was wounded in the stomach area, reportedly shot several times. She got into a red SUV and drove to the front of the diner, where she called for help.

The gunman, believed to be her boyfriend, took off in a white 2001 BMW. The officer was conscious while the paramedics were treating here.

The diner's manager said the couple left very quickly.

"They both came in and sat down...and she looked like she was a little nervous," Tony Smalls said. "And they only stayed like 10 minutes.They got up and they left."

The officer was taken to Jamaica Hospital, where she is listed in stable condition after extensive surgery. A bullet still remains lodged near her spine, according to authorities.

She was not in uniform at the time, and her identity has not been released.

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