Photo: Patrick Alford.
Police officers searching for the boy Sunday night found themselves in the middle of a "gang-related gunfight," according to the New York Daily News. An officer fired a single shot, but no one was hit. Three teens were arrested and two firearms were seized, according to the paper.
The shootout was just the latest drama in the 11-day search for the missing boy.
Last week, helicopters and police dogs searched nearby neighborhoods and swamps, but found nothing.
And Friday, Alford's biological mother, Jennifer Rodriguez, was jailed by a Staten Island family court judge who believes she is hiding the child from police, according to the the New York paper. She is being held in contempt of court.
Her son was placed with a foster family last month after the 23-year-old mother was arrested on theft charges.
Police say he had threatened to run away from the foster home because he wanted to be with Rodriguez. According to the New York paper, police believe the boy may have left on his own freewill and could be in danger.
The 7-year-old was last seen taking out the trash at his foster home Jan. 22, according to CBS affiliate WCBS. Alford is described as 4-foot-8 and 65 pounds, with a scar on his left eyebrow. He was last seen wearing a red t-shirt, blue jeans and black sneakers.
Anyone with information about the case is being asked to contact Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-577-TIPS, by texting TIP577 to CRIMES, or by going to NYPDCrimeStoppers.com.