A man was shot and three police officers were wounded in an altercation in Brooklyn’s Flatbush neighborhood late Wednesday night, after the man stabbed one of the officers in the neck in what officials described as an unprovoked attack.
The officers were taken to Kings County Hospital with injuries that did not appear to be life-threatening, the police said, and all are expected to recover.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Dermot F. Shea, the police commissioner, provided details of the incident in a news conference outside the hospital early Thursday.
Mr. Shea said that two officers had been assigned to an anti-looting post — tasked with stopping people from breaking into stores at the intersection of Church and Flatbush Avenues — when around 11:45 p.m., a man walked up to them and stabbed one in the neck.
The initial attack was recorded on a surveillance camera, Mr. Shea said. The gunfire drew the attention of a police sergeant and other officers who were nearby. They rushed to the spot to find the struggle well underway, and when they arrived at the scene, the man appeared to be holding one of the officer’s guns, according to Mr. Shea.
Shots were fired during the struggle, and 22 shell casings were recovered from a number of police weapons. The man involved in the attack was shot “multiple times” according to Mr. Shea, and is in critical condition at Kings County Hospital. He was not immediately identified.
In addition to the officer stabbed in the neck, two others were shot in the hand.
“It appears to be a completely, cowardly despicable unprovoked attack on a defenseless police officer,” Mr. Shea said. “Thank God we are not planning a funeral right now.”
The incident came as demonstrations against police brutality and systemic racism in the criminal-justice system have roiled New York and other cities, heightening tensions between the police and residents of neighborhoods with large black and Latino populations.
The protests were touched off by the killing in police custody of George Floyd, a black man who died after being held down for several minutes with a knee on his neck by a white officer in Minneapolis.
Mr. de Blasio, speaking during the news briefing early Thursday, called for unity in the city.
“This is a moment in our history we’ve got to support each other,” he said. “No matter what else is happening around us, we’ve got to support each other.”
There was no immediate indication that the incident was connected to either the protests or the mayhem the curfew was meant to counteract.
Sarah Waldron, 26, who lives near the corner where the shooting took place, said she heard at least six shots from her apartment. Before the incident, she said, the block had been silent.
“In previous days, I can hear whenever there are protests,” Ms. Waldron said. “But it was dead silent, so it was out of blue.”
Donta Batts, 26, a maintenance worker, said he was waiting for a bus near Prospect Park and Caton Avenue when he heard shots go off and then saw a stream of police cars barreling down the street.
It was the second time in two days that the police shot an armed man in Brooklyn.
On Tuesday night, officers responding to a report of gunfire in a Crown Heights housing complex encountered a man pointing a weapon at them from behind a tree on a dark street. They shot him several times, killing him, the police said.
Megan Specia, Michael Gold, Matthew Sedacca and Ali Watkins contributed reporting.
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