Flatbush Avenue was in lock-down and crawling with cops on Tuesday night after a gun-toting, pot-smoking criminal allegedly shot a police officer in the ankle less than two blocks from his 78th Precinct headquarters.
The officer, Rory Mangra, 27, was taken to New York Methodist Hospital with a broken fibula. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Mayor Bloomberg rushed to his bedside, where they found Mangra in stable condition and expected to recover fully. He was released from the hospital on Wednesday.
Officers Mangra and Erik Merizalde were on patrol in an unmarked car at around 7:15 pm, when they spotted Kingsley Newland, 23, of Williamsburg, smoking a joint in front of a hair salon at 443 Dean St., cops said.
When Mangra left the car and approached his reefer-toking target, he sprinted toward Flatbush Avenue. Merizalde swung his car in front of the fugitive, who then dove over its hood, police said.
When Mangra, a former Marine, caught up to Newland, the perp allegedly pulled out a .22 caliber pistol from his waistband and shot the cop in the right ankle.
Cops say Newland tried to fire off another shot, but his gun jammed, allowing police to collar him.
In the haze of the moment, Newland then apologized to the cops, telling them, “I didn’t mean it,” according to Kelly.
The police shut down Flatbush, from Fourth to Seventh avenues, for at least two hours to conduct an investigation. Cops said they were hunting a man who may have been with Newland.
Newland was charged with attempted murder, assault, criminal use of a firearm, criminal possession of a weapon, and last, but not least, criminal possession of weed. He had been arrested at least seven times before, mostly for drug possession and sales, police said.
On Wednesday, residents of the block weren’t surprised by the police report of a man smoking pot in their midst.
“It happens,” said one man leaving a bodega. “It’s not that big a deal.”
At the Methodist Hospital press conference Bloomberg said just the opposite, praising the officers for going after Newland after spotting him with the joint.
And both he and Kelly sought to reassure Park Slope that the neighborhood is safe. “Crime here in the 78th Precinct is down 11 percent so far this year, and the only other shooting in this precinct this year was of another police officer, Andrew Suarez,” said Kelly, referring to the Feb. 10 incident in which another cop from the 78th Precinct was shot while in patrol in Park Slope.