New York, NY – A New York Police Department (NYPD) officer was shot by a naked man with a gun early on Wednesday morning, and the gunman's family is demanding answers.
The incident occurred at about 1:51 a.m. on Oct. 23 after police responded to a call about a naked man behaving erratically in the hallway of an apartment building on Frederick Douglass Boulevard, the New York Post reported.
Police arrived on the scene and talked to the 911 caller, who told them that the naked man was the building’s superintendent, 29-year-old Victor Hernandez, WCBS reported.
The caller told police that Hernandez had been behaving strangely all night, but had progressed to harassing people, breaking glass, and banging on doors.
NYPD Force Investigation Division Deputy Chief Kevin Maloney said officers proceeded to the second floor of the apartment building, where they found Hernandez in the hallway, naked, armed with a pistol, and waiting for them in a shooting stance, WCBS reported.
Security video from the building’s laundry room showed 34-year-old NYPD Officer Christopher Wintermute in a wild standoff with Hernandez.
Chief Maloney said that Hernandez fired at Officer Wintermute with his 9mm handgun and struck the officer in his vest, the Associated Press reported.
The gunshot destroyed the officers’ bodycam but his vest protected him from being killed.
They continued fighting and went to the ground seconds later, according to the Associated Press.
The video showed Hernandez’s gun falling to the ground after he shot Officer Wintermute, as the two engaged in hand-to-hand combat on the ground.
Chief Maloney said that Hernandez punched the officer in the face and then went for his gun, the Associated Press reported.
That’s when two other NYPD officers opened fire on Hernandez, according to the chief.
He said the officers fired a total of 17 shots, and the suspect was struck 10 times, the Associated Press reported.
Chief Maloney said that Hernandez had a history of six domestic violence arrests, including two arrests in 2019, the New York Post reported.
Amid speculation that NYPD might have had yet another friendly-fire incident – two NYPD officers have been killed by friendly-fired already this year - officials rushed to determine the origin of the bullet that struck Officer Wintermute.
The chief announced Thursday that ballistic tests had determined that the bullet that struck Officer Wintermute was fired by Hernandez’s gun, the New York Post reported.
Hernandez’s mother, NYPD Officer Maria Hernandez, is a 19-year veteran of the police force who works out of the 52nd Precinct.
Officer Hernandez questioned why her son was shot instead of tased, despite the fact he was actively trying to murder one of her fellow officers, and has called for an independent investigation, the New York Post reported.
“Like all our officer-involved shootings, there will be an independent investigation,” Chief Maloney told reporters. “In this case, it will be conducted by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.”
After she returned from identifying her son’s body at the medical examiner’s officer, Officer Hernandez texted the New York Post that her son had been a harmless family man.
“He was a hard working [sic] great father of two children,” she wrote. “Who worked hard full time and did side jobs to raise his children and went to Lehman college after work. He paid his taxes and was a good citizen.”
Officer Hernandez told the New York Post she didn’t know what had caused her son’s behavior the night he was shot.
“He [sic] only run in with the police were domestic no drugs or gun charges,” the mother wrote. “No mental history. He was a good man and the world is a darker place without his bright light.”
The suspect’s father, Tomas Hernandez, told the New York Post he “would rather have him in jail fighting a case than dead.”
Police have said there is bodycam footage of the shooting from other officers, and that Officer Wintermute’s bodycam has been sent out for specialists to attempt to retrieve video from the camera destroyed by Hernandez’s bullet.
Watch surveillance video of the terrifying incident below: