“A brave young man:” NYPD officer has emergency surgery after he was shot in the head in Queens

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NEW YORK (CNN) — A New York City plainclothes police officer was in critical but stable condition Saturday night after being shot in the head in Queens, police said.

Officer Brian Moore of the New York City Police Department’s Anti-Crime Unit was being treated at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, where he had emergency surgery, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton told reporters Saturday.

A man was taken into custody in connection with the shooting, which is still under investigation, Bratton said.

Moore, 25, and another officer, Erik Jansen, 30, were sitting in an unmarked police vehicle when they saw a passerby adjusting something in his waistband.

Moore, who was driving, pulled up behind the man, later identified as Demetrius Blackwell, 35, to ask about it, Bratton said. Blackwell allegedly pulled a gun from his waistband and opened fire on both officers, who were in the car and had no chance to fire back.

Moore was struck in the head, and Jansen, seeing that he was seriously wounded, immediately called for transportation to a hospital. Officers canvassed the area searching for the suspect, and witnesses told them about a man matching Blackwell’s description fleeing through the neighborhood.

Officers were able to apprehend Blackwell, who has served time in jail and has been arrested in the past in connection with criminal weapon possession and robbery, Bratton said.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was at the hospital where Moore was taken. He praised the officer’s service.

“He is a brave young man. He comes from a police family. This is what he wanted to do with his life. He wanted to be a New York City police officer. He wanted to serve and he did so with great distinction,” de Blasio said.

The mayor condemned the shooting as “an unconscionable act of violence, not just against one police officer, but against the city of New York and against the values we hold dear.”

A doctor said it could take as long as two days to determine Moore’s prognosis.