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NYPD Officer Shot In Chest, Saved By Vest During Struggle With Suspect In Harlem

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- An NYPD officer was shot and wounded during a struggle with a suspect early Wednesday morning in Harlem.

Christopher Wintermute, a 34-year-old, seven-year veteran of the force, was struck once in his bullet-resistant vest. He was taken to St. Luke's Hospital in stable condition and was surrounded by his family and met with a warm applause from his brothers in blue when he was discharged five hours later.

Police said the 29-year-old suspect was shot and killed after pointing a gun at officers. The suspect was the son of an NYPD officer and the building's superintendent.

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Wintermute is assigned to the 32nd Precinct on West 135th Street. Mayor Bill de Blasio visited him and his family in the hospital.

"Thank God, because of his vest, he's alive and he's well," de Blasio said. "Seven years on the job, absolutely an example of bravery and strength. After what he had been through, he was still in good spirits. He was there with his wife, who also is a police officer. They met in the academy, in fact, when they both were starting out and they have a family now."

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Eight uniformed officers responded to a 911 call shortly before 2 a.m. at an apartment building on Frederick Douglas Boulevard near West 148th Street.

NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill said the caller told police her superintendent was harassing people, banging on doors and breaking glass.

"She called the cops because he was acting erratically... acting erratically in the hallway, naked," the caller's sister, Sharon Allen, told CBS2's Reena Roy.

"As the officers fanned out to search the second-floor hallway, one officer suddenly encountered the suspect standing naked, pointing a 9mm semi-automatic handgun at the officer," O'Neill said. "A violent struggle immediately began and shots were fired."

The suspect was shot multiple times by multiple officers. He was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead.

A 9mm handgun was recovered on the scene.

It's unclear how exactly the officer was shot, or if the suspect fired his weapon, Roy reported. Police said he had prior run-ins with police, including multiple domestic violence incidents.

An NYPD officer was shot in his chest and saved by his bullet-resistant vest early Wednesday morning at an apartment building in Harlem. (Credit: NYPD)

Neighbor Jose Beniquez told Roy he saw the superintendent walking around without clothes at around 8 p.m. Tuesday.

"He was acting strange," he said. "I believe he had a mental health issue."

This was the fourth police-involved shooting in the city in the past eight days.

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