Feb. 9 (UPI) -- Two New York City Police Department officers were shot within 12 hours this weekend in a pair of attacks on a Bronx precinct.
One officer was shot and injured at the 41st Precinct in the Bronx on Sunday morning after two other officers were at shot, injuring one, by a man who approached them while they were sitting in their marked police van in the borough on Saturday night.
Police believe the same suspect -- identified as 45-year-old Bronx resident Robert Williams -- was involved in both shootings and he was taken into custody on Sunday morning.
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea called the Saturday night shooting "an assassination attempt at two New York City police officers."
He said the two officers were assigned to a drug-prone area in the Bronx neighborhood of Longwood when a man approached them at 8:30 p.m. to ask for directions.
Shea said the man then pulled out a gun and fired multiple shots in close proximity to the van.
The officer driving the van yelled "gun!" and tried to drive the van away but was struck by gunfire in the neck and chin. The officer's partner then drove him to the Lincoln Hospital where he was being treated and is expected to survive.
The officers were not able to return fire at the gunman.
NYPD did not immediately reveal the identities of the injured officers.
"This once again shows how dangerous these streets can be for New York City police officers," Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association of New York City, said. "Don't take lightly the words 'an attempted assassination.' An attempted assassination because they were in a marked van with their turret lights going in a New York City police officer's uniform. We cannot allow this to happen."
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also stressed the assessment that the attack was an assassination attempt.
"I want New Yorkers to be clear, this was an attempt to assassinate police officers," he said. "Out in the open, an individual walked up to a police van with the intention of killing police officers. This is absolutely unacceptable in this city or any place. In this country, anywhere in this world."