(Rochester, N.Y.) – The Rochester Police Department said that Anthony DiPonzio was the officer shot and seriously wounded Saturday afternoon.
Mayor Robert Duffy called the shooting a "despicable act" and an "assassination attempt."
The officer was responding to a drug complaint on Dayton Street near Hudson Avenue. Officers approached a group of young people. After finding no reason to arrest anyone, the police turned away, and then DiPonzio was shot in the back of the head while walking back to his car.
Police don't know where the shots came from. Several nearby streets were blocked off while police searched house to house for the suspect.
No arrests have been made, but police sources say a 14-year-old boy is a possible suspect in the shooting.
“I call this nothing more than an assassination attempt,” said Mayor Duffy. “This officer was basically sniped walking to his car. There was no provocation...he was shot from behind. I think that speaks to a level of violence we have not seen.”
“I have never seen this type of assault...on an officer,” said Rochester Police David Moore. Governor Paterson, who was in town Saturday, went to the hospital with Mayor Duffy to check on the DiPonzio's condition.
Other officers administered first aid and drove DiPonzio to Rochester General Hospital. Their life-saving actions have been called heroic.
Late Saturday night, it took surgeons 2-1/2 hours to remove bullet fragments from his head. He remains in guarded condition at Rochester General.
Anyone with any information about the shooting is urged to call CrimeStoppers at 423-9300. Callers do not have to give their names and could receive a cash reward if the information leads to an arrest.