NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - NOPD Chief Michael Harrison said that he believes gunmen intended to shoot into a police car when a bullet struck one of his commanders Sunday night (Oct. 25).
Derek Frick is recovering in the hospital after being shot in the neck near Alvar and Higgins streets in the Desire neighborhood.
"First of all, this is awful and our thoughts and prayers are with Commander Frick and his family," he said.
Harrison met with his wounded commander Monday afternoon.
"He's in good spirits," Harrison said. "He's talking and he's very anxious for us to find who did this and bring them to justice."
Frick, a 24-year police veteran, was off-duty and driving an unmarked vehicle to his father's house when he became the victim of an apparent drive-by.
"It's a very cowardly act," Harrison said. "It's very unnecessary, and it speaks to the climate in America where people appear to be targeting police officers."
While investigators don't know if Frick was targeted, but the chief said even though the vehicle was unmarked, it was clearly a police car.
"The average person could look at that car and tell that's a government car," he said. "That's a police car. So I'm under the belief that the people who did this would have and should have known. …Therefore, I believe that they targeted him, whether they knew it was a police officer or not. They intended to shoot that car."
"We've had very little information come through thus far," said Darlene Cusanza with Crimestoppers. "I just think that it's very frightening in the sense for this officer in what happened."
Police said the driver in a brown or gold SUV - possibly a GMC or Cheverolet - is believed to have been the shooter. Investigators say there may have been more gunmen. Crimestoppers is offering an increased reward of $10,000.
"With that Crimestoppers reward, you'll get half if it leads to an arrest of the perpetrators, and you'll the other half when there's an indictment of the perpetrator," Cusanze said.
While the NOPD is hoping for tips, Chief Harrison said the NOPD will use its own resources and intelligence to relentlessly pursue the gunmen.
"It's my intention to find them," he said. "I will not retire and leave this department until we find who did this and who is doing all of these violent crimes against the citizens of New Orleans."
Commander Frick was just recently promoted to his position as commander of the NOPD's Management Services Bureau.
If you have information, call Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111.