Nassau County cop shot while reponding to burglary

August 15, 2013 10:57:54 AM PDT
A Nassau County police officer is recovering after a burglary suspect who appeared ready to surrender suddenly turned and opened fire, police said.

The shooting happened on Campbell Street in New Hyde Park just after 2 a.m., shortly after police got a 911 call from two residents of the home - a man and a woman - saying there was an intruder in their house possibly attempting to steal things. The 32-year-old officer, identified as Mohit Arora, was shot in the right hip as he approached the home.

"The police officer thought the subject was going to surrender," Nassau County Police Lieutenant Detective John Azzata said. "The subject didn't surrender, but quickly turned and fired upon the police officer, striking him in the hip."

Arora was rushed to North Shore LIJ Hospital by police cruiser before being transferred to North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, where he underwent successful surgery. Arora has been a Nassau officer for six years.

Two other police officers were being treated at another hospital for minor injuries.

Two suspects, identified as 21-year-old Cong Xu and 22-year-old Renhang Qiu, were quickly taken into custody. It is believed the house was targeted.

Xu is charged with first-degree attempted murder of a police officer, while both suspects are charged with first-degree burglary, first-degree attempted robbery and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

"We are lucky today that the actions of this shooter did not result in the death of this officer," said James Carver, president of the Nassau County Police Benevolent Association, the officer's labor union. "His injury is serious and he's going to have a long road back to recovery, but thank God the bullet didn't hit anything that could have killed him."

Police closed off the area around the shooting scene for blocks as they searched for evidence. They also surrounded a car believed to have been driven by the suspects. Police later found a 9 mm pistol at the scene.

Carver said Arora was recovering at a trauma center at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset. Prior to joining the suburban police department in 2007, Arora spent three years as a member of the NYPD.

"I commend Officer Arora and responding officers who swiftly arrested the perpetrators while protecting our residents," said County Executive Edward Mangano, who visited Arora.

Arora's mother, who lives with him in Bellerose, told Newsday she had been praying at a temple when she got the news and raced to the hospital. "He was looking good," Shashi Arora said, adding: "I blessed him."

The shooting is the second involving Nassau police in three months.

In May, officers accidentally shot a 21-year-old Hofstra University student during a hostage crisis at an off-campus house in Uniondale. Andrea Rebello died after an intruder put her in a headlock then pointed a gun at an officer who had rushed into the home.

The officer fired eight times, killing both Rebello and the would-be robber, Dalton Smith. Rebello's family has announced plans to file a wrongful death lawsuit against Nassau County and officers involved in the shooting.

The last fatal shooting of a Nassau policeman occurred in October, when Officer Arthur Lopez was shot as he approached a suspected carjacker near the Cross Island Parkway on the Queens border. A victim of the carjacking was also killed.

Mangano had been expected to announce his selection of a company to develop the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum site at a Wednesday morning news conference, but he postponed the event out of respect for the officer. The announcement is now expected Thursday.

Some information from The Associated Press