NEW YORK — Two suspects in an armed holdup followed by a wild shootout that left a pair of plainclothes police officers wounded were arrested Jan. 6 after an intense manhunt.
Security video showed one of the men, Jason Polanco, blasting away at the officers with a powerful .44 Magnum pistol as they pursued him the night of Jan. 5 following the robbery in a Bronx grocery store, police said.
Polanco, 23, was arrested on attempted murder and robbery charges. The second man, 28-year-old Joshua Kemp, was charged with robbery. The names of their attorneys were not immediately available.
At a news conference, New York Police Department officials praised five officers for choosing to respond to the robbery report even though their shifts had ended and they were about to head home. The two wounded officers, Andrew Dossi and Aliro Pellerano, were hospitalized in stable condition.
“I commend them for their courage,” Chief of Department James O’Neill said. “They were going home … and they ended up getting into a fierce firefight.”
The shooting came about two weeks after two officers were fatally shot while sitting in their patrol car in Brooklyn, and on the same day that the city touted record low crime levels.
The violence unfolded as officers who are part of an anti-crime unit spotted Kemp outside a Chinese restaurant and Polanco inside it.
When the officers got out of their car and approached Kemp, Polanco shot one round through the window of the restaurant, striking Kemp and one officer, police said. He went outside and fired two more shots and wounded the second officer; one officer returned three shots but missed.
Polanco ran away and carjacked a white Camaro that he crashed a few blocks away, police said. He jumped out, ditched his gun and fled on foot, they said.
Investigators released video early Jan. 6 that prompted several tips from the public that led to Polanco’s identification and capture, police said. Kemp was caught after seeking treatment for his wound at a hospital, which contacted police.
On Dec. 20, Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were gunned down in their patrol car by a man who vowed online to kill “pigs.” The man opened fire, then ran into a subway where he shot himself to death.
Ramos was buried Dec. 27; Liu was buried Jan. 4. Tens of thousands of officers from around the country attended the funerals.