NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City police officer shot and killed a knife-wielding man on Thursday after the officer was slashed in the neck while trying to stop the man from assaulting an elderly woman, authorities said.
Officer Filippo Gugliara, 24, was hospitalized in stable condition. At a news conference, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton praised his response.
"He faced quite clearly a life-threatening situation with this individual," Bratton said. "But for his intercession, the assault on this 78-year-old woman - we don't know what would have happened."
The incident unfolded at about 2:15 p.m. near a subway station in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn. The 58-year-old suspect was involved in dispute in a shop that spilled out into the street, they said.
When the woman intervened, the suspect turned on her and pushed her to the ground, police said. The officer, who was patrolling an elevated subway station, heard the commotion and came down to the street to help the woman.
The man pulled the knife and slashed the officer, police said. The officer responded by firing two rounds, hitting the man in the torso.
The knife was recovered at the scene.
Doctors said the officer only needed a few stitches. They also said they believe the shoulder strap of the officer's vest apparently deflected the knife, preventing the wound from being more serious.
"Thank God this officer came out OK," De Blasio said.
The assault victim was treated for minor injuries. Police said she had no previous connection to the suspect.
Associated Press Writer Lejla Sarcevic contributed to this report.