NEW YORK (Reuters) - A man sought for illegal gun possession was charged on Sunday with the attempted murder of a New York City plainclothes police officer who was shot in the head while in an unmarked car, authorities said.
Officer Brian Moore, 25, was in critical but stable condition at Jamaica Hospital, a spokeswoman for the New York Police Department said.
Arrested in Saturday’s shooting in the New York borough of Queens was Demetrius Blackwell, 35, of Queens.
Police said Blackwell shot at Moore and another officer early on Saturday evening as the officers were sitting in their unmarked car in a middle-class Queens neighborhood, police said.
The officers had been trying to question Blackwell, who has an extensive criminal background, after they saw him seeming to adjust an object in his waistband, police said.
Blackwell pulled out a gun and fired several times into the vehicle, police said, adding that the officers did not have a chance to get out of the car or return fire.
Blackwell was charged on Sunday with two counts of first-degree attempted murder as well as aggravated assault on a police officer, first degree assault and weapon possession.
He was ordered held without bail.
“Last night’s shooting once again reminds us of the dangers that our police officers face each day,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement.
If convicted, Blackwell faces the possibility of 25 years to life in prison.
Police said Blackwell was wanted on outstanding charges including grand larceny, criminal possession of a weapon and menacing.
The shooting took place five months after the fatal ambush of two uniformed New York City police officers in Brooklyn.
The gunman in that case had said he wanted to avenge the deaths of black men killed in confrontations with white officers.
The shooting of Moore, who is white, initially sparked concern it was a replay of the Brooklyn murders. It occurred as tensions are running high in Baltimore over the death last month of a black man from injuries sustained while in police custody.
But asked if the suspect expressed any anti-police sentiment, Police Commissioner William Bratton said there was no indication of that. “We haven’t identified any activity on his part whatsoever on social media,” he told reporters.
Moore is the fifth New York City officer shot in five months, police said.
Reporting by Barbara Goldberg and Ellen Wulfhorst; Editing by Frank McGurty, Frances Kerry and Paul Simao