NYPD detective released from hospital after Greenwich Village shootout that killed suspect

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Sarah Wallace spoke to the detective on his way home. (WABC)

An NYPD detective was released from the hospital Wednesday, after being wounded in a shootout with a fugitive in Greenwich Village.

Mario Muniz was shot Monday along with two US marshals as the fugitive task force was attempting to serve a warrant on a suspect, who was killed in the gunfight.

Police say one marshal was shot in the backside, while the other was grazed in the right arm. The two, Patrick Lin and Ryan Westfield, were released from the hospital Tuesday.

Muniz was shot at least twice, in the stomach below his protective vest and in the right chest, which could have been deadly were it not stopped by the vest, said NYPD Commissioner William Bratton. Muniz, 45, is a 20-year veteran of the NYPD.

The suspect was shot between a half-dozen and a dozen times inside the Smoking Culture NYC store on West 4th Street, authorities said. Authorities had gotten a tip that the child molestation suspect was an employee inside the store.

Police searched the suspect's East Village apartment Tuesday afternoon. They recovered evidence including a computer hard drive, lap top, drivers license and medication.

The U.S. Marshals said the New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force was working on a case in which the suspect, Charles Mozdir, was charged with child molestation in Coronado, California.

Since then, his appearance had changed dramatically. Sources say he'd gotten a job at the smoke shop using an alias and went by the first name "John".


Crime scene investigators, one wearing a white suit armed with a shovel, arrived back Tuesday morning at the smoke shop. The store was still guarded but there was otherwise little sign of Monday afternoon's chaos.

"In those series they shoot all the time on the streets of New York, so that's what I thought because they're always filming movies around here all the time," said neighborhood resident Orlando Dole.

Dole said it wasn't until he saw the news that he realized it was the real thing.

Swarms of officers converged on the area in the aftermath, clearing out buildings and closing off neighboring streets.

"The three members who have been wounded were members of a U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force, led by the U.S. Marshals office, part of a national effort that we have NYPD officers assigned," NYPD Police Commissioner William Bratton said.

The fugitive task force seeks absconders from other states, Bratton said.

"They do what law enforcement personnel do every day," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "They have to put their lives on the line to protect the rest of us."

Mozdir's .32 caliber revolver was recovered at the scene, and 20 extra rounds of ammunition were found in his pocket, Bratton said.


A $1 million bench warrant was issued for Mozdir in June 2012 after he skipped an arraignment in San Diego Superior Court on child sexual assault charges.

His case had recently been featured on CNN's "The Hunt with John Walsh." Mozdir was accused of abusing a young boy while babysitting him. Authorities said they later found evidence of child pornography and bestiality on his cellphone and computers.

Mozdir was wanted on five counts of lewd acts upon a child younger than 14 and a charge of attempting to keep a witness from prosecuting a crime, according to the criminal complaint.

Authorities had searched for him in Coronado, Georgia, California and Mexico, according to the show.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)
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