NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) - NYPD Officer Justin Vartanian was released from the hospital Friday, one day after taking a bullet under the arm in a wild shootout in upper Manhattan.
Vartanian, a plainclothes officer with the 34th Precinct's Anti-Crime Unit, responded to a call about gunfire near West 187th Street and Wadsworth Avenue in Washington Heights at about 4:30 p.m., the NYPD said.
Vartanian and other officers confronted a man who fit the description given in the 911 call, Commissioner James O'Neill said. The man, who had a gun in his hand, then ran away to a parking lot on Broadway north of 187th Street, with one officer chasing him on foot, O'Neill said.
"The suspect then runs to the rear of the parking lot and takes a position behind the last parked car. Our officer takes cover behind a vehicle three cars away," O'Neill said. "The suspect then fired three rounds at the police officer, who is struck in the right armpit."
Vartanian fired back once, the commissioner added.
As this was happening, the officer's partner drove an unmarked police car into the parking, stopped, got out, and took "a position in front of the car," O'Neill said. One of the shots fired by the suspect narrowly missed the officer and tore through the windshield of the police car.
That officer then fired three rounds at the suspect, hitting him once in the chest, O'Neill said. The suspect was taken to Columbia University Medical Center where he died.
Vartanian was treated at Mount Sinai-St. Luke's Hospital.
"He is in good spirits, and the NYPD family stands ready to do all we can to assist in his full recovery," O'Neill said Thursday night.
The initial gunfire that prompted the 911 call also triggered an alert on the NYPD's gunfire-detection system, O'Neill said.
The NYPD released photos of a handgun that officers say they recovered and the unmarked police car with a bullet hole in the windshield.