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Police ID suspect wanted in Jamaica cop shooting

Dozens of police officers respond to the scene of the shooting Wednesday night. Photo courtesy NY Post
TimesLedger Newspapers

The NYPD is offering a $22,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of John Thomas, wanted in connection with the attempted murder of a Queens anti-gang sergeant who was shot Wednesday night in South Jamaica.

Sgt. Craig Bier, a 15-year department veteran, was driving eastbound on 107th Avenue near the South Jamaica Houses with his partner, Detective Nicholas Romano, around 10:30 Wednesday night when they attempted to stop a man riding a bicycle, police said.

The man fled in the opposite direction, ditching his bike and running down a narrow alley, climbed a tall chain-link fence and jumped off onto the roof of a parked white van, police said.

Bier had run back to try to cut off the suspect’s escape route and when the two confronted each other, they opened fire, with the suspect firing four times — striking Bier in both legs — and the sergeant firing six shots, according to the NYPD.

Bier collapsed on the sidewalk and his partner, who had been chasing the suspect, ran to help after he heard the shots, police said.

The wounded officer was rushed to Jamaica Hospital by a Queens South impact team that had been patrolling the area and heard the gunshots, the police said. A member of the team, Officer Kyle Miller, is a certified EMT and he applied pressure to Bier’s wounds en route.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said a Ruger 9mm pistol was recovered not far from the shooting. He said Bier, 44, has a total of 65 medals, 14 of which are for meritorious police duty.

Police identified the suspect as 25-year-old John Thomas and described him as a black man with long hair about 5-foot-10 and weighing 180 pounds. The statewide non-profit CrimeStoppers, the NYPD and the Policemen’s Benevolent Association have all chipped in to offer the $22,000 reward. Visiting Bier in the hospital early Thursday morning, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the sergeant was in “remarkably good spirits” and used the opportunity to call for stricter gun laws.

“This is the type of officer the public should thank God they have working for the New York City Police Department,” he said. “This is the 10th member of the department shot this year. No fatalities since Peter Figoski was killed last December. If you remember, Officer Figoski was brought here to Jamaica Hospital,” he said.

““Only one month ago, the commissioner and I visited Officer Brian Groves, another police officer, after he was shot,” the mayor continued. “Between then and now we have had two mass shootings in this country. Thirty-four people are being murdered in this country every single day with illegal firearms, and I think it’s fair to say we are still waiting for the leaders of our country and those who want to be the leaders of our country to stand up and tell us what they’re going to do about this.”

“In the next four years, 48,000 Americans are going to die from illegal guns — being murdered by illegal guns — and we just have to find a way to stop this. We all know that also included in those people, unfortunately, are likely to be people that are members of our families, our friends or a police officer who puts their life on the line to protect us,” he said.

Meanwhile, back at the scene of the shooting, numerous cops scoured the area, hanging up posters and handing out fliers offering rewards for those with information about illegal guns and suspects in police shootings.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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Reader Feedback

Moneystak from Queens says:
Police put their lives on the line to protect US when they r called,but when they target minorities that haven't committed a crime or just walking home it leads to situations like this.it just so happens this guy had a gun too and unlawfully used it.
Aug. 10, 2012, 5:46 pm
Stoptheviolence from Ss says:
Minorities my ass these dumb ass drug dealing gang bang ing jail bait..make the neighborhood always look bad ——s keep engaging people and their kids...jail its what the hell they are used to..why get mar at the cod for killing them when they kill each other ..so annoyed with these dam people..his ass should of never made his self a target by turning the opposite direction if was already heading one way...please he did that —— to himself and because he kno he sus shoot to try and escape ..then had the nerve to leave evidence at the scene leading to him...he wanna go back home..jail where he is used to being
Aug. 11, 2012, 3:17 am
Marie from Jamaica says:
To Stoptheviolence, I'm with you 100%. they r so ignorant that it doesn't surprise me when people like Moneystack make the ridiculous comments they make. All these people hating on NYPD. Don't be a hypocrite when your in your hood and your own people gun you down, then you want NYPD to help. I appreciate what NYPD do to clean up our streets of these gangbanging wannabes. I'm tired of these gangbangers thinking they r mobsters n trying to make names for themselves in the streets which means absolutley nothing in jail. I hope they find John Thomas for thinking he is some —— out here when he is merely a parasite hiding umong us without anyway out. You can run but you can't hide!!
Aug. 11, 2012, 5:57 pm
Moneystak from Queens says:
U2^^,must not b minority because your justifying what these cops do to ppl who haven't committed crime but are suspects because skin color.yeah this guy could b a threat to the public and justice will b served,but the nypd has been arrested in many headliners in last 8months for planting drugs,selling guns,kidnapping,rape,Tix fixing,and more so don't act like their just "keeping ppl safe".crime is down citywide so I guess stop the minority guy and stuff a charge on him helps make it look like their doing something.
Aug. 11, 2012, 6:43 pm
Marie from Jamaica says:
Moneystack I am a minority. No they r not just profiling because if John Thomas wasn't doing anything wrong, why pass by the cops while your carrying an illegal weapon? Now instead of being charged with just a weapons possession now he faces more charges and more jail time. He is the idiot who put himself in that situation. The cops didn't put him in that situation. He did it to himself. Moneystack don't get mad at me get mad at these African American kids who join gangs like the southside bloods, n who committ crimes all over NY especially in the projects. What's even worse they turn on each other n kill themselves. Why you think the jails are filled with African Americans? They didn't get there by not doing anything wrong. You make white people laugh at you and they sit around watching you kill yourselves. It's a joke. Martin Luther King should of never sacrificed his life if he knew things would turn out the way they are.
Aug. 11, 2012, 10:48 pm
meme from south jamaica says:
I agree with moneystack ...its ——ed up that minorities hey killed automatically by cops whether they are doing something wrong or not but they arrest the man who shot up the movie theater and he was when they arrested him...I don't call the cops I call my family I hope they never find john Thomas...to bad the cop didn't die..
Aug. 13, 2012, 11:27 pm
Stoptheviolence from South side says:
It has nothing to do with class or race at the end of the day ” minorities” are killing ” minorities”...and innocent ” minorities(kids) in their ignorant selfless behaviors..i sure is hell dont like cops but if they kill the ”minorities” that put me in danger then idgaf...i have never seen or heard of more violence than the human race killing out wach other..what happen to natural causes FOH I dont feel sorry for no —— carrying illegal guns drugs gangbanging pants sagging dickhead...not all minority or not if you knew better you would do better n im sure these —— dont have no birth defect they just plain stupid..and everyone is held accountable for their actions
Aug. 14, 2012, 8:18 pm

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