Bronx cop believed to have died from 1999 shooting is alive, NYPD says
NEW YORK — A cop believed to have died some time after he was shot 20 years ago in the Bronx by a man arrested Friday actually survived the shooting, the New York Police Department said Monday.
Law enforcement authorities, including NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill in a tweet Sunday, had said Officer Vincent Ling eventually died of his wounds.
Lester Pearson, 43, was arrested Friday in Jacksonville, Fla., for allegedly shooting Ling. A bullet lodged in his spine left him paralyzed, according to media reports at the time.
On Monday, police officials said Ling is alive and that a misreading of the attempted murder charge on Pearson’s arrest warrant led to the confusion.
“He’s very much alive,” uncle Thomas Ling told the New York Daily News. “I saw him last year.”
Vincent Ling, now 47, has not been reachable for comment. The uncle declined to comment further and other family members declined to put a reporter in touch with Ling.
Pearson had been living in Jacksonville under the name Michael Davis with his girlfriend and several children. He performed as a rapper named Monsta Kodi and has more than 100,000 Instagram followers.
He was arrested driving out of his garage and cops found a gun in the car.
In December 1999, Pearson and Ling, then with the NYPD for five years, got into an argument over Ling’s sister, who Pearson used to date. Pearson opened fire and Ling fired back in a gunbattle that left the off-duty cop with a bullet lodged in his spine and Pearson’s girlfriend shot in the thigh. At least 11 shots were fired.
Pearson initially turned himself in to Bronx prosecutors in 2000 but then skipped bail. He left behind a trail of other arrests, including a drug case in Louisiana where he was accused of assaulting a state police officer.
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