Rookie NYPD officer shot in Crown Heights

February 28, 2014 Heather Chin
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An on-duty rookie police officer who was shot twice in the leg during a confrontation with an attempted bus fare beater in Crown Heights on Wednesday, February 26, is home recuperating in Bay Ridge. The man who is charged with shooting him has since been arrested and charged in the attack, said police.

Police Officer James Li, 26, was released from Kings County Hospital on Friday, February 28. He was treated for wounds to his leg and groin and is expected to make a full recovery.

Undoubtedly, in Police Officer James Li, we have a hero living among us, and truly a great family is our neighbors,” noted State Senator Marty Golden, himself a former NYPD officer. “Officer Li clearly believes in his work to keep our city safe, and his bravery and courage is an inspiration to all New Yorkers.”

The alleged shooter, Rashawn Robinson, 28, has six prior arrests and an active warrant from Pennsylvania for the manufacture and distribution of narcotics. His last arrest in New York City was in Brooklyn’s East New York on narcotics-related charges.

His latest arrest stems from the incident that began at around 5 p.m. on February 26, near the intersection of Utica Avenue and Empire Boulevard when Li and his partner Officer Randy Chow—both of the 71st Precinct, located just blocks away—saw two men enter a B46 bus through a rear door in an attempt to avoid paying the fare. The officers entered the bus and escorted the suspects off to the sidewalk. Although one man was apprehended with little trouble, Robinson attempted to flee and “a short chase ensued,” according to NYPD Chief Philip Banks.

Robinson turned around and fired three shots at the officers from a distance of about 10 feet, hitting Li twice. Both Li and Chow returned fire—Li shot five times, Chow two times—but did not hit the suspect, who fled westward on Empire Boulevard towards Lefferts Avenue.

Chow gave chase and called for assistance for Li, who was lying in the parking lot of a White Castle being tended to by Good Samaritans–two of whom were off-duty Emergency Medical Technicians–who administered first aid until emergency medical services could arrive.

The suspect was chased west on Empire Boulevard towards Lefferts Avenue and then onto the fifth floor of 445 – 455 Schenectady Avenue, where he was arrested.

A gun matching the ballistics of the shots fired at the scene was found on the suspect’s person during arrest. The weapon is a Smith and Weston 44-caliber gun.

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio visited the injured officer at his bedside to commend him on a job well done.

Li, who reportedly lives on 70th Street in Bay Ridge with his family, just graduated from the NYPD Police Academy in January. He is the first NYPD officer to be shot this year.

The two off-duty EMTs, Khadijah Hall and Shaun Alexander, were also praised for their quick-thinking and life-saving actions by de Blasio and Bratton. They were honored in a ceremony on Thursday, February 27.

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