Demetrius Blackwell, a 35-year-old man from Queens, New York, was arraigned in criminal court Sunday in connection with the shooting of New York police officer Brian Moore late Saturday in Queens Village. Moore, 25, remained in critical condition after he underwent surgery Sunday morning.
Blackwell faces charges of attempted murder, assault and criminal weapons possession, CBS New York reports. Blackwell did not enter a plea and was scheduled to next appear in court on Friday. He will be held without bail until that court appearance.
“Last night’s shooting once again reminds us of the dangers that our police officers face each day as they carry out their sworn duty to protect and serve our communities,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said Sunday in a statement, according to the New York Post.
Moore suffered a gunshot wound to the head Saturday evening, when he and his partner confronted Blackwell in Queens Village. Moore, who was not dressed in his police uniform, observed Blackwell behaving suspiciously and approached him due to their knowledge of his extensive police record.
Blackwell appeared to be reaching for his waistband, a source familiar with the situation told the newspaper. The suspect and the officers engaged in a verbal exchange, at which point Blackwell pulled out a gun and fired three times at the men, police said. Moore was struck in the back of the head by a bullet that exited the front of his face. The other officer was not injured.
“[Blackwell] immediately opened fire on them before they had a chance to get out of the vehicle,” New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said Sunday at a press conference.
Witnesses helped police find Blackwell, who fled the scene of the shooting and hid in a nearby house. The NYPD arrested Blackwell less than two hours after Moore was shot but did not find a firearm, Fox News reports.
Moore underwent surgery to ease swelling in his brain shortly after the incident. Five NYPD officers have been shot in the past five months.