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Off-Duty Officer Shot In Bronx, Several Suspects In Custody

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TWC News: Off-Duty Officer Shot In Bronx, Several Suspects In Custody
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An off-duty police officer is recovering after getting hit in an early Sunday morning shooting in the Bronx.

Police said Nelson Vergara was returning to his Bronx home just before 5 a.m. when he came across a group of men drinking near Phelan Place in Morris Heights.

They said Vergara confronted the men after one of them threw a bottle at him.

That's when a man in a green Honda pulled up, got out and opened fire, in what police said was an attempt to hit the bottle thrower.

Vergara was hit in the left shoulder and right shin, according to police. Authorities said the bottle-thrower was also hit.

Police said Vergara shot back and hit the driver in the hip.

Officials said both the driver and the bottle-thrower are in custody and several others are being questioned. They are investigating the reason behind the dispute.

“Today, the news is not tragic," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said of the incident. "Because of the work, and perhaps because of the grace of God, we’ve not lost a member of the NYPD to gun violence this year."

"It was pretty loud," said one witness. "Not that quick but loud, constant, 'pop pop.' I thought people were celebrating. I didn't know they were getting injured."

Officials said Vergara is a 12-year police veteran and a former Marine who took two leaves from the NYPD to serve in Iraq.

His half-brother John Lopez is also an NYPD detective. In 2006, Lopez was off duty with his family when two robbery suspects tried to carjack him. Lopez chased them and got shot in the leg.

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