The Detectives’ Endowment Association, Inc. — Michael J. Palladino, President

NYPD Detective Wounded in West Village Shootout Gets Hero’s Welcome in Queens

July 31, 2014

NYPD detective wounded in West Village shootout gets hero’s welcome in Queens

Detective Mario Muniz was welcomed home by his wife, son and neighbors on Wednesday in Richmond Hills, Queens. The 45-year-old officer was released from Bellevue Hospital earlier that day, with a bullet lodged near his belly button.

The brave NYPD detective wounded in a wild West Village shootout with an accused child molester got a hero’s welcome home Wednesday.

Detective Mario Muniz’s neighbors cheered and clapped when the black SUV carrying him, his wife and their son pulled into his old stomping grounds in Richmond Hills, Queens.

And nobody was happier to see Muniz walking upright just two days after taking a bullet to the groin than his mother, 79-year-old Carmen Muniz.

“I always say, ‘Papi, be careful and God bless you’,” she said before her boy came home. “I say, ‘Don’t be a hero.’ But look!”

Detective Mario Muniz said he felt great Wednesday as he was wheeled out of Bellevue Hospital by his partner, Detective Joseph Trovato.

Carmen also admitted that she wouldn’t mind if her son went into a safer line of work.

“He is 45, whatever he does I have to accept it,” she said. “He is the best. He tries to help everybody. That’s what you are there for. That is his job. I am very proud.”

So were Muniz’s neighbors, who were out on their front steps clapping.

“We have a hero on our block and we’re proud to welcome him home,” said 64-year-old Veera Joseph, who lives across the street. “It’s really an honor to have him in our neighborhood.”

Lucky, a black Labrador retriever, may have been in accused sex offender and bestiality pracitioner Charles Mozdir’s possession, but cops say the dog didn’t belong to him and that they plan to return the animal to his rightful owner.

Muniz didn’t say anything when he came home, but he was grinning less than an hour earlier when he was greeted by applause from fellow cops serenaded by bagpipes after he was sprung from Bellevue Hospital.

“I feel great,” said Muniz as he was wheeled out by his partner, Detective Joseph Trovato. “Thank you to the hospital, the NYPD, my family.”

I always say, ‘Papi, be careful and God bless you.’ I say, ‘Don’t be a hero.’ But look!

Walking behind them was one of the two U.S. Marshals who were also wounded in Monday’s shootout, Ryan Westfield. He, too, was grinning.

A veteran cop, Muniz was shot Monday when he went to the Smoking Culture shop on W. Fourth St. to arrest 32-year Charles Mozdir, a San Diego man wanted for molesting a friend’s 7-year-old son.

Muniz went to grab Mozdir, but the suspect managed to pull out a .32-caliber revolver and started shooting at the detective from a foot away, sources said.

“I’m hit! I’m hit!” Muniz yelled in a dramatic video taken by the shop’s camera, according to a source who reviewed the footage.

Westfield and U.S. Marshal Pat Lin, who were also hit by gunfire, returned fire and mortally wounded Mozdir, who later died at Bellevue.

Muniz, who was wearing a bulletproof vest, was hit in the groin and underwent an hourlong surgery immediately after the shooting.

Police gather evidence at the W. 4th St. after two U.S. Marshals and one officer were shot. 

  1. Spiros Frangos said they were unable to remove the bullet, which entered his body near his belly button. But he said Muniz was “very lucky.”

“The vest stopped the bullets that could have potentially done a lot more damage,” he said. “And the one bullet that did get through, he was very fortunate. It went all the way from the right side of his abdomen to the left side of his abdomen and didn’t hit any vital organs.

Muniz was able to stand the next day, when Mayor de Blasio came by to see him.

“We’re all very, very pleased with the outcome,” said Frangos.

Westfield and Lin were released from Bellevue earlier. Neither was badly hurt.

A former wedding photographer who authorities said was into child pornography as well as bestiality, Mozdir eluded the law for two years until his story was featured recently on CNN’s new series about wanted felons called “The Hunt.”

Sources said Mozdir’s boss at the smoke shop and another person tipped off cops that he was in Manhattan.

Mozdir was on the run with a black Lab named Lucky that his family insisted was his.

Police said the dog was stolen and that they intended to return Lucky to his owner.