Watch CBS News

'Extremely close call': New Bedford police detective Lavar Gilbert shot in face, drives himself to hospital

New Bedford detective shot in random attack
New Bedford detective shot in random attack 01:58

NEW BEDFORD - A veteran New Bedford Police detective is in stable condition a day after he was shot in the face.

Police said Detective Lavar Gilbert was working undercover at the intersection of Rivet and Orchard streets around 8:45 p.m. Monday when shots were "suddenly fired" while he sat in an unmarked car.

Police believe the shooting was a random act and was not any form of retaliation. 

The officer was shot at the intersection of Rivet and Orchard streets, July 17, 2023. CBS Boston

One of the car's windows was shattered and Gilbert was hit in the face. Police said he stayed conscious and was able to drive himself to St. Luke's Hospital.

"Lavar Gilbert is doing well, remarkably. It was an extremely close call," New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell said Tuesday. "We're talking about matters of inches. This was much less than an inch in terms of the risk of doing much, much more damage." 

A short time later, a man showed up at the emergency room with a gunshot wound to his foot. Police said the circumstances of what happened to him are still under investigation.

"However, we can confirm that neither Detective Gilbert nor any of our officers fired their weapons," police said in a statement. "At this time, there is no indication that our detective was specifically targeted, nor is there a reason to believe that there is an ongoing threat to safety in the Goulart Square neighborhood."

There have been no arrests. Businesses and homes in the area gave surveillance video to police to help them generate some leads. 

Mitchell said active leads are being pursued and police are confident the person responsible will be arrested. 

"Being told that one of your own has been shot is a phone call that no police chief wants to receive, however, I'm extremely grateful that our detective is expected to recover," Police Chief Paul Oliveira said in a statement Tuesday.

"This is a stark reminder of the dangers that the men and women of law enforcement face on a daily basis as they keep our citizens safe. We are very thankful for the outpouring of support from members of the community, as well as the many law enforcement agencies who have reached out. Please keep our detective and his family in your thoughts as he continues to heal."    

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact police. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.