Staten Island, NY – Bystanders taunted and harassed New York police officers as they attempted to revive a wounded convicted felon who shot a fellow officer on Tuesday morning.
The incident began the night prior, when a woman went to the New York Police Department (NYPD) 120th Precinct station and filed a domestic violence complaint against 39-year-old career criminal Gregory Edwards, the New York Daily News reported.
The woman told officers that Edwards punched her in the face when she tried to break up with him the day before, according to the New York Post.
At approximately 8:45 a.m. on Tuesday, the woman contacted police and told them she had spotted Edwards outside a residence on Prince Street, the New York Daily News reported.
Police responded to the area and began driving the woman around the neighborhood in search of Edwards, according to the New York Post.
She spotted him again a short while later.
“The officers immediately dropped the victim off about a block away for her safety and returned to arrest the man,” New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill said, according to the New York Post.
But as the four officers approached Edwards, he “immediately became combative…and violently resisted their efforts to place him under arrest,” Commissioner O’Neill explained.
One officer tried to subdue him with a Taser, but the convicted felon still managed to pull out a 9mm handgun.
“The officers, showing no hesitation, grabbed his hands to direct the muzzle away from everyone,” the commissioner said.
Edwards fired off two rounds, striking a female officer in her hand.
Her partner responded by firing three rounds at Edwards, killing him, the New York Daily News reported.
Bystanders moved in and began heckling and yelling at police as they attempted to revive their attacker by pumping on his chest.
The situation grew even more tense a couple of hours later, when approximately 12 NYPD community affairs officers were confronted by a group of angry citizens, the New York Post reported.
Some accused police of trying to cover up what had occurred, while others hurled obscenities.
“All of you can die!” one person yelled at them.
“He has kids, a wife…none of you all give a f--k!” another bystander shouted.
Resident Christine Wilson said that officers likely would have shot her one-year-old son if she hadn’t pulled him out of the way as police were approaching, according to the New York Post.
Wilson said she was speaking with Edwards just prior to the shooting, and denied accusations that he was armed at the time.
She claimed that Edwards attempted to flee from police, and that the officer was struck by friendly fire, the New York Post reported.
Edwards’ weapon was recovered at the scene, and bodycam footage clearly showed him gripping a handgun.
The wounded officer was rushed to Staten Island University Hospital North, where she underwent surgery to her left hand, according to the New York Daily News.
“Our officer did everything that she was trained to do, put herself in harm’s way and did an exemplary job,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said, according to the New York Post. “She has injuries, but thank God they’re not life-threatening.”
The 30-year-old officer, a two-year veteran-of-the-force, is an Argentinian immigrant assigned to the 120th Precinct, the New York Daily News reported.
“She is someone who exemplifies the American dream," de Blasio said. "Her family came here, an immigrant family. She came here as a young girl. I talk to her mom and dad and brother, she always wanted to be a police officer. That was her life’s goal.”
"She has applied herself with all her heart to this work protecting others and it’s quite clear how devoted she is to her work and how extraordinary her story is,” the mayor added.
Edwards had been arrested at least 16 times since 1997, the New York Post reported.
At least three of those offenses were due to weapons possession.
He was sentenced to five years in prison for shooting two people in New Brighton in 2004.
Within a year of his prison release, Edwards allegedly fired multiple rounds into a home in Port Richmond.
In 2012, he allegedly raped a woman in the Port Richmond Community, according to the New York Post.