Thomas Tracy, Rocco Parascandola, Janon Fisher
New York Daily News
An off-duty police officer is fighting for his life after he was savagely beaten by three men believed to be part of a drive-by mugging crew that has terrorized the Bronx and Queens over the last month.
The 48-year-old veteran cop — on the job for 18 years —was jogging down Olmstead Ave. between Lafayette and Turnbull Aves. in Soundview about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday when the assailants intercepted him and started to pound on him, authorities said.
After he was beaten unconscious, the men fled in a black Honda, cops said.
Police found the officer on the sidewalk bleeding from the left ear, according to police information. He was unable to stand up, speak or identify himself, according to the report.
The officer was listed as a John Doe originally because he could not be identified and he was not carrying identification. It was only after he didn’t show up for his shift at the Central Park Precinct where he’s assigned did they figure out who he was.
The officer was taken to Jacobi Hospital where he was treated for a fractured skull and bleeding from the brain, and is in critical but stable condition.
”He opened his eyes, but he’s still on a breathing tube,” a source told the Daily News.
“While we pray at our injured brother’s bedside tonight, police officers across this city are searching for the cowards who did this to him. Make no mistake: we will find them,” said Patrick Lynch, president of the Police Benevolent Association. “But we will need the rest of the justice system to step up and do its job, too. This is what happens when our leaders refuse to hold criminals accountable — not even a police officer can walk these streets safely.”
Police believe the same men, driving the same car, are responsible for 19 other attacks in the Bronx in the last month.
The trio began their spree on Aug. 1, often jumping out of the four-door sedan armed with pistols and beating pedestrians on the sidewalk of whatever valuables they have. They carjacked 10 luxury vehicles at gunpoint in Queens and the Bronx, ordering one car owner under the threat of death, telling him “We need the car, we need the car.”
A video released by police shows the men that they believe are the suspects attack a couple walking on the street, beating the man before running off.
No arrests have been made.
The number of robberies in the 43rd Precinct where the attack occurred have spiked, going from 271 by this time last year to 461, a staggering 70% jump.