Two suspects have been arrested after a Nassau County police officer was shot and wounded while responding to a home invasion in New Hyde Park early Wednesday morning, authorities said.
Third Precinct Officer Mohit Arora, 32, was shot on Lakeville Road after 1 a.m. and was taken to a local hospital, where he is listed in stable condition after undergoing surgery for the bullet wound, according to a police spokesman. He also suffered a broken hip.
“I commend Officer Arora and responding officers who swiftly arrested the perpetrators while protecting our residents,” said Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, adding that he met with the officer in the hospital.
The identities of the suspects were not immediately released.
Officers responded to the burglary on Campbell Street at 1:49 a.m. after someone from inside the house called 911, said Det. Vincent Garcia, a police spokesman.
Responding officers “thought they would surrender,” Garcia said of the two assailants, but “instead they fled.”
The gunman fired under under his shoulder as he ran, striking Arora, a six-year veteran of the department, in the right hip, Garcia added. It is unclear how many shots were fired, but the officers returned fire.
Officers followed the gunman through a nearby school yard before they took him into custody and recovered his semi-automatic handgun. The other suspect was nabbed in close proximity to where the shooting took place, police said.
The motive for the home invasion is still under investigation but police “believe this wasn’t random, that they were targeted,” Garcia said.
Two people were inside the house at the time of the incident. The suspects did not steal anything.
Detectives are continuing the investigation.
The incident stunned residents in the quiet North Shore community.
“This area is supposed to be one of the safest,” said Tom Li, as he gathered with neighbors to discuss the early-morning shootout. “To have this kind of thing happen in our own backyard, unbelievable.”
Joe Owens, who lives on nearby Nugent Street, was awakened by the gunfire, but initially thought the loud bangs were from people lighting firecrackers.
“Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang,” said the 80-year-old who has lived in the area for 50 years, describing what he heard. “Never in a million years [are you] thinking they were gunshots.”
“I think that as safe as you think you really are…if somebody is desperate, they might want to break into your home,” he added.