Shot officer released from hospital

August 10, 2012 2:26:14 PM PDT
The police officer who was shot in both legs in Queens on Wednesday night has been released from the hospital.

Sergeant Craig Bier, a 15-year veteran of the NYPD, was released Friday afternoon. He was shot around 10:40 p.m. on Union Hall Street in Jamaica.

The manhunt continues for the suspect.

Police recovered a .09-mm gun at the scene and had a man who showed up a hospital with a gunshot graze wound in custody. But they later determined that man was not the shooter, and so the search continues. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly identified 24-year old John Thomas as the suspect wanted for questioning in the shooting. He is believed to be the gunman and is considered armed and dangerous.

Police have pegged Thomas as the shooter because his fingerprint was on the ammo clip pulled from the gun thought to be the weapon used in the shooting. And police have a set of keys that weree dropped at the scene, traced to an apartment in a Queens housing project where Thomas appears to live. Mail inside that apartment was addressed to the suspect.

"Another night, and another shooting of one of our finest," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. "A first-year member of the department came to Sergeant Bier's aid and quickly applied pressure to his wounds to prevent any serious damage. And after an intense search, we have a suspect in custody."

Bloomberg says Bier and his partner, Detective Nick Romano, were in plainclothes patrolling South Jamaica in an unmarked van when they attempted to stop a man on a bicycle.

That suspect dropped his bike and ran. When the officers chased him, he opened fire near the corner of 107th Avenue and Union Hall Street. Bier was hit in both thighs. The officers were able to return fire.

Bloomberg and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly visited Bier at the hospital, where he is said to be in good spirits.

"I don't know that I've ever talked to anybody as enthusiastic about his job," Bloomberg said. "The doctors, he joked, said that he was lucky, and he said, 'Well if I was lucky, I wouldn't have gotten shot.' But this is somebody who'll be back out there very soon protecting the rest of us."

Bier, who is the son of a retired NYPD detective, is the 10th officer shot this year. A combined nine NYPD officers were shot over the past four years.

"This is the type of officer that the public should thank God that we have working for the New York City Police Department," Kelly said.

Anyone with information about the suspected gunman is asked to contact NYPD right away.

COP SHOT has posted a $22,000 cash reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the suspect. Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-COP-SHOT. All information is kept confidential and no names are taken.

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