EAST TREMONT, The Bronx (WABC) -- An NYPD officer shot in the arm early Tuesday was pulling up on a troubled Bronx block when a gunman opened fire on his police cruiser, striking him in the left arm and "narrowly missing his vital structures," police officials said.
Two uniformed officers from the Public Safety team were patrolling East Tremont in an unmarked car when they saw two men on the corner of East 183rd Street and Prospect Avenue.
As the officers drove up to the men, one of the suspects fired six shots at the vehicle, striking the windshield and the officer in the passenger seat, according to police.
"As they pull up, before they have a chance to exit their car, shots are fired at their vehicle," Chief of Detectives James Essig said.
Both officers then exited the vehicle and returned fire.
The shot officer's partner, a seven-year veteran, rushed him to the hospital in his police cruiser, all while calling in descriptions of the suspects.
Eyewitness News Reporter Janice Yu was outside of the hospital with more details:
"It clearly emphasizes too many young people have too many guns in their hands," Mayor Eric Adams said at a press briefing Tuesday morning. "Our job is to create pathway to stop that and to remove these guns off our streets."
The officer, identified by police officials as Officer Paul Lee, is a three year veteran assigned to the 48th Precinct's Public Safety Team. He was released from the hospital later Tuesday afternoon to a crowd of his brothers and sisters in blue.
Public Safety Teams replaced the plainclothes Anti-Crime Unit, disbanded by former Police Commissioner Dermot Shea in June 2020.
Officers in the team are in uniform but drive unmarked cars. The team's main focus is to get guns off the street.
"Look at the scenario," Adams said. "Sixteen years old, Officer shot, another individual potentially is armed. This officer was doing his job."
Responding officers called to the scene chased the suspects on foot and caught up to one of them.
They took a 16-year-old into custody and found a .32 caliber gun on him. He was arrested and charged with attempted murder, assault and criminal possession of a weapon.
Moments after the first shots rang out, a second round of shots were fired from in front of a building on East 183rd Street.
Initial video review shows those shots were not fired at the pursuing officers, but toward the corner where the men were standing, according to police.
Investigators recovered two .380 caliber shell casings from in front of the building.
A man dressed in a black sweatshirt and blue jeans is seen on the video firing a gun in front of the building before fleeing in a car.
Police are still searching for two men connected to the shootings.
WATCH | NYPD officials hold press conference after officer shot in the Bronx:
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