“The shooting occurred on May 14, 1981, at about 1:40 AM. I was off duty at the time and assigned to the NYC Transit Police Robbery Task Force, a plainclothes unit within the Detective Bureau. My regular partner and I were traveling in my private vehicle when we observed three males in their 20s run across the street and into an apartment building after a middle-aged male had just entered the vestibule.
“Perceiving a robbery was about to take place, we exited my car and entered the building. The three males were beating the one male and we immediately identified ourselves as police officers. With the three males now in custody, it was determined that they were beating him in retaliation for him removing them from a club the previous night. The male victim was the club’s bouncer and refused to press assault charges against the three. We released them and all parties left the scene.
“Once back in my car, we drove several blocks when a car slowly pulled up, door to door, with mine. I immediately recognized the driver as one of the three from the building incident. Without any words exchanged, he raised his hand, pointed a .38 caliber revolver at me at point-blank range, and opened fire. I raised my left arm to protect my face as he fired three rounds, one shattering my driver’s side window and entering my tricep. The bullet traveled the length of my arm and lodged in my chest cavity where it remains today, 40 years later. One round struck the car door and the other lodged in the headrest.
“Both my partner and I exited my vehicle to return fire, but in my haste to exit, I left the vehicle in drive. It knocked us off balance, but I did get the plate number. The suspect was identified and turned himself in two days later. He eventually pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 3 1/3 to 10 years in state prison.
“I returned to work after six weeks and continued in my career for 15 more years, retiring as a Detective Sergeant from the Bronx Homicide Task Force Nightwatch.”
Matt Cooper was shot in the head with a .38 special ball projectile during a shoplifting call on Labor Day of 2018.
Justin Conley was shot in the back with a .357 Magnum during a running gunfight in a police station parking lot.