An off-duty NYPD lieutenant may have shot himself twice in the stomach to duck out of testifying against a friend caught up in the NYPD pay-to-play scandal, sources said.
Lieutenant Peter Salzone, who works at the 19th Precinct stationhouse on the Upper East Side, was rushed to an area hospital, where he underwent surgery Friday night and was expected to survive, sources said.
The shooting happened just after 4 p.m. on Cloverdale Blvd. near Kingsbury Ave. in Oakland Gardens, officials said.
Salzone, 45, had been alone inside his girlfriend’s apartment when he fired four shots at his stomach striking himself twice, police sources said.
His girlfriend returned to find him bleeding from the gut and started screaming for help, a neighbor said.
First responders arrived within minutes, and, as the girlfriend yelled at them to “Hurry!”, carried the wounded cop onto a gurney and into an ambulance, said the neighbor, who declined to give her name.
The neighbor said the cops was awake, and wasn’t crying or screaming despite the bloody injury. “He was silent,” the neighbor said.
Salzone’s girlfriend rode next to him on the way to North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, Long Island, where he was in critical but stable condition in the Intensive Care Unit, sources said.
The circumstances surrounding the self-inflicted shooting were far from clear Friday night.
Salzone, who served as the 19th Precinct’s Integrity Control Officer, was close with Deputy Inspector James Grant, police sources said.
Grant was indicted in June as part of a mushrooming NYPD corruption scandal.
While Salzone has not been called as a witness against Grant, the FBI had requested to interview him, sources said.
“(The Feds) wanted to interview him and now this happens,” the source said.
Grant, the precinct’s commanding officer, has been charged with conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has charged that Grant was at the beck and call of wealthy de Blasio donors doing them favors in exchange for gifts and bribes.
As Integrity Control Officer, Salzone would have been responsible for keeping the precinct’s officers honest, monitoring overtime and sick days, and ensuring that cops complete their full tours of duty.
In May, NYPD Inspector Michael Ameri shot himself to death amid the federal corruption probe.
The decorated 44-year-old cop had been questioned twice by FBI agents in the days before his death, sources said.
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said that Ameri was not a target of the inquiry, and that the reason for his suicide was unclear.