NY sheriff's detective ambushed in patrol car; manhunt underway

The on-duty, undercover detective was injured from glass that shattered as two males opened fire on his patrol vehicle


By Catie O'Toole
Syracuse Media Group

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — An Onondaga County sheriff's detective conducting surveillance outside Springfield Garden Apartments in DeWitt was injured Monday night from glass that shattered as two males opened fire on his patrol vehicle, Onondaga County sheriff's Sgt. Jon Seeber said.

The on-duty, undercover detective was sitting in his unmarked patrol vehicle in a parking lot on the north side of the apartment complex on Caton Drive at 6:28 p.m. Monday when two "unknown male suspects" approached him and began firing at his vehicle, Seeber said.

Glass shattered as bullets from what appeared to be handguns sprayed the police vehicle, police said.

"When you have two figures walking up to your car and it's dark out, it's hard to make out the suspects," Seeber said. "The incident was very quick."

The detective, whose name was not released, was alone in the patrol vehicle at the time, Seeber said. He immediately radioed into Onondaga County 911 to say his patrol vehicle had been shot at approximately 10 times, according to a 911 dispatcher.

The bullets narrowly missed the detective, who works with the sheriff's Special Investigations Unit, Seeber said. However, glass that shattered from the patrol vehicle as the shots rang out hit him.

An ambulance, escorted by two police cars, rushed the detective to Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse. His injuries are minor, Seeber said.

"We're very fortunate he wasn't seriously injured," Seeber said.

The suspects were last seen running south through the parking lot, behind building 24 on Caton Drive, according to 911.

For three hours Monday night, dozens of police officers scoured the area around Springfield Garden Apartments, near Le Moyne College.

"A perimeter was set up and streets were closed," Seeber said. "We asked residents to stay inside."

The sheriff's office Tweeted about the shooting Monday night, letting the public know "numerous law enforcement officials are on the scene of a shooting near the Springfield Garden Apartments. We ask residents to stay inside."

Le Moyne College also warned students to avoid the area around the apartments after the shooting. The college sent two emails to students and other members of the college community after receiving reports of shots fired, college spokesman Joe Della Posta said. He said the college wasn't on a lock down, but one Le Moyne College student said security and staff in her dormitory would not allow anyone out of the building. Students on the lower floors also were told to go to higher floors in the dorm.

Campus security also could be seen in the parking lots along the outer perimeter of the college. They were there to make sure no one entered the area where police were investigating, Seeber said.

Police searched several buildings at Springfield Garden Apartments throughout the night to make sure the two suspects weren't hiding inside.

Around 9:30 p.m., police reopened Springfield and Thompson roads, as well as Mountainview Avenue and Springfield Road, which had been closed during the manhunt, Seeber said.

Police still haven't found the two suspects, who were wearing dark clothing, he said.

"We're still investigating," Seeber said. "No one has been taken into custody."

The sheriff's office is asking anyone with information about the shooting or who witnessed it to call detectives at 315-435-3081 or send a tip via Tip 411.
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(c)2017 Syracuse Media Group, N.Y.


McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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