The Associated Press
Related: 2 NYPD officers shot during traffic stop
BROOKLYN, NY — Police took a suspect into custody for questioning Tuesday and were searching for two others in the brutal shooting of two young police officers during a traffic stop of a stolen SUV, a department official said.
Among the men being sought was a former employee of a Long Island car dealership where the black BMW sport utility vehicle was stolen, said the official, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the investigation had not been completed. State records show the 34-year-old parolee has assault, robbery and weapons convictions.
Lee Woods, center, is charged with shooting two police officers in Brooklyn. (AP)
One of the officers, Belarus-born Russel Timshenko, 23, remained in grave condition with a severe head wound. His family was at his bedside.
"I'm just praying for a miracle," said Victoria Gentile, a neighbor of the family on Staten Island.
The second officer, Herman Yan, was in stable condition with wounds to the chest and forearm. Police said it appeared that his bullet-resistant vest saved his life.
The NYPD launched a massive manhunt for the three occupants in the vehicle.
The incident occurred at 2:30 a.m. Monday in Brooklyn's Crown Heights section after the two officers used a laptop computer in their marked patrol car to do a random check of the license plates on the BMW. After discovering the plates didn't match the car, they turned on their flashing lights and pulled the car over.
As the uniformed officers followed procedure by approaching from either side of the SUV, investigators believe two of the occupants opened fire without warning, hitting Timoshenko first.
"Seeing his partner fall to the ground and hearing shots, Officer Yan returned fire, but he too was hit with gunfire," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said at a news conference.
Detectives who were canvassing the area while investigating an unrelated double homicide heard the shots and stopped to help the officers. Other police cars arrived moments later and rushed the victims to the hospital.
Investigators later determined that the SUV, and the plates from the second vehicle, had been stolen from Five Towns Mitsubishi in Inwood, N.Y., on Long Island near the Queens border. Inside it were two .45-caliber shell casings and trash from a recent meal of fried chicken from a fast-food restaurant, police said.
A security camera from a daycare center at the intersection where the shooting took place captured grainy images of the officers approaching the stolen car. It also shows Timoshenko taking fire and falling backward, then Yan getting caught in a shootout, police said.
Investigators also obtained footage from a second camera showing three men ducking into a driveway next to a building after ditching the stolen vehicle a few blocks from the shooting. Three weapons — a .45-caliber handgun, a 9mm pistol and a Tec-9 automatic pistol — were discovered behind the building.
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The NYPD did not make public any of the videotape.