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Off-duty NYPD officer suffers fractured skull in Bronx robbery

Police seek suspects in attack on off-duty officer in the Bronx
Police seek suspects in attack on off-duty officer in the Bronx 02:24

NEW YORK -- The NYPD is searching for four people believed to be behind a string of 19 robberies this month. The latest was an attack on an off-duty police officer in the Bronx on Tuesday.

CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis was told on Wednesday the officer, who was rushed to the hospital with a fractured skull and brain bleeding, is now conscious and able to speak with family.

Family members said they're just hoping cops catch the people responsible. Investigators were at the scene all day.

Video shows a man walking along Olmstead Avenue when someone rushes in and jumps him from behind. Others follow, but they eventually run off, leaving the man on the sidewalk. The victim was later identified as Muhammed Chowdhury, a police officer who was off duty at the time.

"He's trained to encounter this situation and all the sudden him getting attacked is, like, something else," one of Chowdhury's nephews said.

The nephew said his uncle has been with the NYPD for 18 years, adding he's a father, husband, and a kind man.

"If you walk up to him asking for help, he would help you," the nephew said.

"My son-in-law is a very good person," Chowdhury's father-in-law said.

New surveillance video shows the suspects as they get out of a black Honda and walk away.

Chowdhury, 48, had been jogging in the Castle Hill neighborhood in which he lives when police say he was attacked by three people who then rushed off in a black car. Since they took his wallet, he had no ID on him.

Police sources say it wasn't until he didn't show up for work later in the day that the NYPD connected him to the unidentified man at the hospital.

"If that happened to a police officer, what about me and you and people that are rank and file? We are not safe. We need a lot of forces here," neighbor Mohammed Mujumder said.

Watch Jenna DeAngelis' report

Off-duty police officer attacked in Bronx robbery 02:54

In a statement, Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said he's confident officers will find the suspects, adding, "We will need the rest of the justice system to step up and do its job, too. This is what happens when our leaders refuse to hold criminals accountable -- not even a police officer can walk these streets safely."

Police believe the men involved in the case are behind 18 other robberies in the Bronx and Queens.

Video shows an attack on Quimby Avenue in the Bronx on Monday. The suspects got away with a woman's purse.

Vidal Hernandez recognized one of the suspects in the photos police released, after he and a friend were attacked in the afternoon on Aug. 16, a block from Tuesday's incident with the off-duty officer.

"They put a gun, point to my head. Both of them, both sides, and took everything from me in front of my house," Hernandez said. "They take my phone. They take my credit card, my money, my watch, my bracelet, everything."

Hernandez, thankfully, wasn't hurt.

As CBS2's Nick Caloway reports, so far this year in the Bronx, felony assaults are on the rise, up 21% year-to-date over last year and robberies are up 43% year-to-date.

"The only thing I can tell you, this neighborhood before was nice and quiet. Now, you can't even walk in the street," Castle Hill resident Lues Rivera said.

Chowdhury, meanwhile, is still at Jacobi Medical Center.

A resident told CBS2's Zinnia Maldonado a rally is planned in Castle Hill on Thursday at around 5:30 p.m., calling for justice and peace.

Anyone with information about the incidents is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also submit a tip via their website or via DM on Twitter, @NYPDTips. All calls are kept confidential.

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