1053 115 LINKEDIN 65 COMMENTMORE

A suspect in a child molestation case recently featured on CNN's The Hunt was shot and killed Monday in a gunbattle in Manhattan that left three officers wounded.

The wounded officers were in stable condition, New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

"We pray everything we are hearing is true and that these officers will be OK in the long run," de Blasio said.

"They do what law enforcement personnel do every day," de Blasio said. "They have to put their lives on the line to protect the rest of us."

The host of the CNN program, John Walsh, said two U.S. marshals and a New York City police officer were responding to a tip provided to The Hunt on the whereabouts of suspect Charles Richard Mozdir, 32, who was wanted in a California case.

"He was hiding in plain sight,'' Walsh said.

The three officers shot during an exchange of gunfire were transported to Bellevue Hospital. The gunman's weapon was recovered, the mayor and commissioner said.

A police detective first entered the small smoke shop and identified Mozdir, who apparently was alone, Bratton said. The dectective left and returned with U.S. marshals.

The detective was shot at least twice, in the stomach below his protective vest and in the right chest, which could have been deadly were it not stopped by the vest, Bratton said.

One U.S. marshal was shot in the elbow and another in his buttocks, he said. The federal agents fired multiple rounds, authorities said.

Mozdir, 32, was wanted on child molestation charges after failing to appear at an arraignment after his arrest in San Diego County in 2012.

Walsh described Mozdir's death as a "very shocking ending" but said it was welcome news for the family of the child because the suspect had threatened revenge for going to the police.

"The biggest thing is, what a relief for the family,'' Walsh said.

"It shows how much the public cares and how much they can help," he said on CNN.

"This is our first capture. I'm very sorry that those police officers got wounded in the line of duty," Walsh said, "but this is one more lowlife that's off the streets."

The shooting happened just after 1 p.m. in the West Village not far from New York University when a fugitive apprehension task force tried to serve a warrant to Mozdir, who was inside a smoke shop. The fugitive task force seeks absconders from other states, Bratton said.

A $1 million bench warrant was issued for Mozdir's arrest on June 15, 2012, after he skipped an arraignment in San Diego Superior Court on child sexual assault charges, according to Steve Walker, a spokesman for the San Diego County district attorney. He had posted $250,000 bail.

Mozdir was wanted on five counts of lewd acts upon a child younger than 14 and a charge of attempting to keep a witness from prosecuting a crime, according to the criminal complaint.

Mozdir was accused of abusing a young boy while babysitting him, according to the show's website, quoting federal authorities. Investigators in Coronado, Calif., executed a search warrant on Mozdir's house and found evidence of child pornography and bestiality on his cell phone and computers, according to U.S. Marshals Service deputy Brian Grimes, CNN reported.

Contributing: Associated Press

Follow Doug Stanglin on Twitter: @dstanglin

1053 115 LINKEDIN 65 COMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://usat.ly/1mVpruu