A New York City police officer died after being shot in the head in a gun battle while pursuing a suspect following a report of shots fired, police says. "He is the fourth New York City police officer murdered in this city in the last 11 months," Police Commissioner William Bratton said during a press conference at the Harlem hospital where Officer Randolph Holder, 33, was pronounced dead Tuesday night. At the hospital, dozens of uniformed and plainclothes officers lined the hallway while other officers held each other as they arrived. "Tonight, he did what every other officer in the NYPD does. When the call [came] he ran toward danger," Bratton said. "It was the last time he will respond to that call."
The shooting in Manhattan's East Harlem neighborhood happened while the five-year veteran and his partners were responding to a call of shots fired. Witnesses told the officers a man had fled on a footpath, and the officers encountered another man who told them an assailant had stolen his bicycle at gunpoint. Holder and another officer confronted the armed man and there was an exchange of gunfire, Bratton says. The officer was struck and the shooter fled on foot. The suspect was caught several blocks away with a gunshot wound to his leg. "We are humbled by Officer Randolph Holder's example, an example of service and courage and sacrifice," Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters.