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Bystander struck in Bronx police shootout to speak out

December 26, 2018

NEW YORK (AP) — A Bronx woman wounded in a shootout between police and a suspect this month is speaking out about her harrowing experience.

Irene Urena Perez plans to address reporters Wednesday, three weeks after a police officer’s stray bullet struck her in the belly.

Police were chasing a suspect in an armed robbery down a crowded street in the University Heights neighborhood Dec. 5 when the suspect opened fire on a pursuing officer. Perez was hit after one of the officers returned fire. The New York Times reported a 12-year-old girl also was wounded when a bullet tore into her leg.

Perez’s attorney, Sanford Rubenstein, questioned whether the officer followed protocol in firing more than two dozen times at the fleeing suspect. He said Perez is seeking damages from the New York Police Department.

“Twenty-seven shots fired by a police officer— even in a situation where the officer was fired upon twice — was reckless and negligent and created an unreasonable risk of danger to innocent bystanders,” Rubenstein told The Associated Press.

A police spokeswoman said the NYPD’s Force Investigation Division is investigating the shooting. She did not address whether the officer followed protocol.

“The suspect in this incident shot a firearm in the lobby of a building during an apparent drug rip-off robbery and then fired twice on the street at an approaching officer who was attempting to arrest him,” Sgt. Jessica McRorie wrote in an email.

Rubenstein said Perez underwent three surgeries and spent nearly two weeks in the hospital following the shooting. He said she gave a bedside interview Monday as part of a grand-jury investigation.

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