A Suffolk County police officer was shot and wounded while confronting a suspect who fled a traffic stop, and police officials say the officer is expected to survive.
A suspect was arrested about an hour after the shooting, which occurred just before midnight Wednesday.
Officer Mark Collins, a 12-year veteran assigned to the Gang Unit in the Second Precinct, was in plain clothes and driving an unmarked vehicle when he stopped a car for a vehicle and traffic violation on Route 25 in Huntington Station. He was wounded in the neck and hip and hospitalized in serious condition.
Police Commissioner Edward Webber said there were four people in the car and one of them, the alleged shooter, ran from the vehicle when Collins and two other officers approached. Webber said Collins chased the man, whose identity police are withholding, and confronted him about a block away. Webber said the suspect fired twice at the officer, striking him in the neck and hip. The suspect fled and was arrested about an hour later “after an intense search,” Webber said.
“He is a hero and we are thankful that his injuries, although serious, are not worse,” Webber said of Collins.
At an early morning news conference at Stony Brook University Hospital, where Collins was brought by police helicopter, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said the officer was in “serious condition” and remains in a medically-induced coma in the intensive care unit. Bellone said that Collins was “speaking and able to communicate” when he arrived at the hospital.
Collins “confronted evil and fortunately, angels were on his side,” Bellone added.
“While we are at home, sleeping comfortably in our beds, these officers are out there working to apprehend the people who are doing harm,” he said. “We are grateful tonight that the officer has a good prognosis.”
Dr. James Vosswinkel, the hospital’s chief of trauma and emergency surgery, said Collins’ injuries do not appear to be life-threatening and that the officer “has a very favorable prognosis.”
Webber said the suspect was in custody and that charges against him were pending. He said the other people in the vehicle had been temporarily detained and were being questioned.
Collins is married with no children. He was named the Suffolk County Police Officer of the Year in 2008.