How social media led to arrest of suspect in rookie NYPD officer's shooting

Janice Yu Image
Saturday, April 8, 2023
22-year-old charged with attempted murder after NYPD cop shot
Devin Spraggins was arraigned Friday on charges of attempted murder, assault, criminal possession of a weapon and obstructing governmental administration. Josh Einiger has more on the suspect.

JAMAICA, Queens (WABC) -- Police announced that they have arrested a 22-year-old man in connection with the shooting of a rookie NYPD officer in Queens, and the investigation into some social media accounts helped lead to his arrest.

Officials say members of the U.S. Marshalls found Devin Spraggins in a home in the Bronx at around 8 p.m. Thursday. They also found a gun in the home, but do not yet know if it was used in this incident.

He was arraigned Friday on charges of attempted murder, assault, criminal possession of a weapon and obstructing governmental administration. If convicted, Spraggins could face 40 years to life in prison for each of the attempted murder charges.

Police Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch was in the front row when the 22-year-old stood before a judge.

"We know that he pulled that weapon that he admitted to carrying," Lynch said. "He admitted to hiding. He admitted he changed his appearance and hair. He admitted he's the person that's in that video. Yes, it's him and yes, he did it."

According to the charges, Spraggins got into a fight with another passenger on an MTA bus traveling on Jamaica Avenue near 160th Street around 3:20 p.m. on Wednesday.

The bus driver then flagged down Officer Brett Boller, 22, and his partner, for assistance. Boller was shot in the hip as he was responding to the altercation on the bus.

NYPD brass described the arrest Friday morning during a press conference:

The NYPD held a press conference to announce an arrest in the shooting of a rookie police officer in Queens.

They say after fleeing the scene, Spraggins got into a Lyft that took him to a house on 215th Street. Investigators used the details from the for-hire car to ultimately track him down.

Officers discovered social media accounts for the people staying at that home and were able to get a search warrant. A search inside the home led police to discover what they believe to be the suspect's shoes that he was wearing during the incident.

After interviewing people at the location, police say that information led them to a basement apartment in the Wakefield section of the Bronx where they were able to take him into custody around 9 p.m.

A 9mm handgun was also recovered along with a 9mm shell casing and magazine. Ballistics will determine if they match the weapon used to shoot Officer Boller.

"He's someone whose father I've worked with for 15 years. Knowing his son was out there, doing the job, and getting shot, I think every police officer feels that rush to just get out there and do what they can," said James Essig, Chief of Detectives, NYPD. "In this particular case, the amazing work that the detective bureau did and the force investigation to put this together in a short time, but it's very difficult to describe an incident where you hear 'officer shot.' There are just so many emotions that go through you when that happens."

He underwent surgery at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center where he faces a long road to recovery ahead.

He is not expected to be released from the hospital for days -- likely not until next week -- but is expected to make a full recovery.

One of the bones that connect his hip to his leg was shattered in the shooting and damaged his femoral artery, the main blood vessel to his leg. He's listed in stable condition, but now faces months of rehabilitation of his right leg.

Boller is from Hauppauge and just graduated in December and his father is a detective in Brooklyn.

He graduated from Happaugue High School in 2018 as a star athlete.

"He was a three-sport athlete and he captained many of the teams," said Happaugue School District Dr. Don Murphy. "He's a young man. So it's devastating to our community to learn."

READ ALSO| 'Swatting' threats target dozens of school districts in New York

More than 50 school districts received false reports of serious emergencies on Tuesday alone. Shirleen Allicot reports.


* Get Eyewitness News Delivered

* More New York City news

* Send us a news tip

* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts

* Follow us on YouTube

Submit a News Tip