NEW YORK — A New York City police officer was shot and wounded Tuesday night in the Bronx while pursuing a suspect as part of a unit tasked with getting illegal guns off the street, police said.
Officer Daniel Vargas was shot about 10:30 p.m. as officers responded to a call in the borough's Soundview neighborhood, police said.
The 31-year-old officer was shot in the back, just below his bulletproof vest, during an exchange of gunfire with a 24-year-old man he was chasing, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said.
"In the course of seconds, what we know is that our officer we believe fired one round. We believe the perpetrator fired four rounds," Shea said at an early morning briefing.
Vargas was taken to Jacobi Hospital and listed in stable condition, police said.
"I can tell you that he is in a lot of pain, but thankfully we expect him to make a full recovery," Shea said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio hailed the officer's bravery.
"Here is an officer, a young officer out there in the streets of the Bronx, getting guns off the streets to save lives. That's what he does," the mayor said at the briefing in the Bronx.
Officers have made 417 gun arrests so far this year, Shea said Wednesday, during his annual State of the NYPD address to the New York City Police Foundation.
Charges against the shooting suspect were pending.