One of the two transit officers from Long Island shot by an alleged fare beater on a Queens subway platform was back home Wednesday, saying he is "feeling great" but is concerned about his critically injured partner.
Jason Maass, 28, who police said was grazed on the back by a bullet
fired from a gun the suspect took from him, was released from the
hospital Tuesday night following the rush-hour incident at the
Queensbridge-21st Street in a Long Island City station.
"I'm concerned for my partner," said Maass, a former Middle Island
resident. "My partner's a hero."
Shane Farina, 38, a four-year veteran from Center Moriches, was shot in
the sternum and suffered fractured ribs. Like his partner, he was
wearing a bullet-resistant vest, but the bullet struck just beneath its
Farina was in critical but stable condition early Wednesday at Elmhurst Hospital Center but is expected to make a full recovery.
Late Tuesday afternoon, the plainclothes officers moved in to arrest
suspected fare evader Raul Nunez, an ex-convict who, perhaps fearing
deportation to his native Dominican Republic, struggled mightily with
the officers, shooting them with Maass' gun before he himself was shot
and wounded by a lieutenant, police said.
Nunez was struck four times and was listed in serious condition at
Bellevue Hospital Center. Police sources said he stood a good chance of
escaping were it not for Lt. Gary Abrahall.
A married father of four, Abrahall, who lives in Sayville, has worked
the streets his entire career, according to a former colleague, taking
extreme measures only when forced to do so.
"He's good with people," the former colleague said. "I'm sure he did what he had to do."
Early Wednesday, much about Nunez was unclear, including how he slipped
back to the states after he was initially deported back home after a
The 5:15 p.m. drama unfolded when Nunez used a high school student
train pass to go through the turnstile, illuminating a light that turns
on whenever an unauthorized user tries to beat the $2 fare, Police
Commissioner Ray Kelly said.
Abrahall, dressed in plainclothes as the head of a team assigned to the
station, saw what was happening from inside a station booth and radioed
to Farina and Maass that the suspect was approaching them on the
In the ensuing confrontation, the officer managed to get one handcuff
on Nunez, but then the suspect put up a struggle, fighting with both
officers, the three of them falling to the platform, Kelly said.
At some point, Maass' 9-mm Smith & Wesson slipped loose. Nunez
grabbed it, Kelly said, then stood up and shot both officers before
heading to the station's upper level on the escalator.
Abrahall, Kelly said, was already on his way to help the officers when
he confronted Nunez, firing six shots at Nunez, and the suspect fired
The dramatic confrontation sent two dozen rush-hour straphangers up the
stairs and out into the chilly streets as dozens of police officers
converged on the station.
"I walked right past it," said Malcolm Dewer, 32, who works near the
entrance to the subway. "It was surreal. Time stood still. Choppers
were overhead. Cops were jumping out of the cars before they even
stopped. They were shouting, 'Get out of the way!'"
Kelly raced to the scene as detectives pressed their search for
witnesses, knocking on doors at the Queensbridge Houses, the sprawling
projects above the station where the shooting occurred.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who with Kelly visited the officers at Elmhurst, lamented the reality.
"Crime in our subways is at a historic low," he said. "Sadly, bad things do occur."
Daniel Edward Rosen contributed to this report.