(CNN) — A New York Police Department officer who was shot in the back during a domestic violence incident in Brooklyn on Thursday was saved by his bulletproof vest in what officials called a “Christmas miracle.”
“On this Christmas Eve into Christmas, I would say that somebody is absolutely looking out for us here in the NYPD tonight,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
The incident began before 9 p.m. on Thursday when the NYPD received a series of 911 calls from a mother saying, “Get here quick, get here now. He’s going to come over here and shoot the place up,” according to NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea. The mother was referring to her daughter’s boyfriend, he said.
NYPD officers from the 77th Precinct arrived at the Crown Heights home and had begun interviewing the mother and daughter when the boyfriend pulled up to the home and opened fire, Shea said.
“You see incredible bravery by the officers,” said Shea, who reviewed the body camera footage. “You see the girlfriend point out and next thing you hear is shots being fired.”
One officer was struck in the back — but the bulletproof vest kept the bullet from penetrating the officer, Shea said as he held up the vest.
Other officers responding to the incident saw the 20-year-old suspect fire his weapon, and two officers fired at least seven shots towards the suspect, Shea said. A short foot pursuit ensued, and officers were able to apprehend the suspect in the span of one to two blocks, he said. The man was not injured.
Speaking at Kings County Hospital on Thursday, de Blasio said the officer, whose name was not released, was treated for his injuries and is in a little pain. He is otherwise in “extremely good spirits” and was expected to leave the hospital shortly.
“Because the NYPD was there, that woman is alive right now,” de Blasio said. “Because our officer put himself in harm’s way — an innocent woman is alive tonight.”
The shooting is one example of a stunning rise in gun violence across the country that began in the late spring and has continued throughout the year.
In New York, the total number of crimes this year is slightly down from last year, but murders have increased by nearly 40% and shooting incidents doubled compared to 2019, according to NYPD data.