A felon wanted for domestic violence wrestled away the pistol of a detective trying to arrest him and fatally wounded the 22-year police veteran and his partner in a gun battle on a quiet street, police said Saturday.
Suspect Marlon Legere was struck in the legs and fled in a carjacked minivan, leaving detectives Robert Parker, 43, and Patrick Rafferty, 39, bleeding to death Friday night in the borough of Brooklyn.
Police tracked Legere, 29, to a third-floor hallway several blocks away and arrested him less than two hours after the shooting. He was hospitalized in stable condition.
"It appears as if one of the cops' guns was the murder weapon," said Michael Palladino, president of the Detectives' Endowment Association. "In the city of New York, policing is dangerous and risky at all times."
Parker and Rafferty were responding to a domestic violence call from Legere's mother, who said her son was at her home and wanted to take her vehicle, police said. The detectives found Legere inside the vehicle and boxed it in with their car. Witness statements led authorities to believe a struggle ensued before the shooting, police said.
The officers were not wearing bullet-resistant vests, which are mandatory for uniformed officers but not detectives, who wear street clothes.
Parker, a divorced father of a college-age daughter, was a police officer since 1982. Rafferty, a married father of three children, was a 15-year veteran. They were the first New York City Police Department officers to be shot and killed in the line of duty since March.
Legere has served time for assault, sexual abuse and drugs. He was released from prison on the assault charge in March, according to state correction records. His criminal history includes nine arrests, including one for grand larceny, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said.
Gillian Selman, who knew Parker, brought flowers to a makeshift shrine Saturday. Along with flowers and candles, one sign read: "NYPD detectives, your sacrifices kept us safe. God bless you and your families."