Guardian Angel founder seriously hurt in shooting

June 20, 1992|By Thomas Easton | Thomas Easton,New York Bureau

NEW YORK -- Guardian Angel founder Curtis Sliwa, still wearing a bandage on an arm broken in an April beating, was shot and seriously wounded early yesterday after boarding a cab near his home in Lower Manhattan.

Mr. Sliwa, 38, underwent five hours of surgery at Bellevue Hospital, but a bullet remained lodged in his abdomen.

Mr. Sliwa was listed in serious condition last night, but he was expected to make a full recovery.

Two members of his volunteer anti-crime brigade, with their signature red berets, and a New York city police officer were standing outside his hospital room.

"It definitely has to do with people looking for him, they were stalking him," said Mr. Sliwa's wife, Lisa. The April attack, she believed, was a warning. This time, she said, "they were trying to do more than send a message."

The attack occurred at about 5 a.m., when Mr. Sliwa was leaving home for an office near Pennsylvania Station where he records a radio show, "Angels in the Morning" with his wife.

Accounts by police and Mrs. Sliwa suggest that Mr. Sliwa did not notice a passenger slouched over in the front seat as he got into a cab near Tompkins Square. As the cab pulled away, the passenger fired at least two shots from a 25mm handgun, police said.

Mr. Sliwa climbed out of a window of the moving taxi and called "code red" on a walkie-talkie, an expression the group uses for an emergency. The message was heard by his wife.

Hours after the shooting, police recovered the taxicab -- reported stolen a day earlier -- with blood and a bullet hole in the back seat.

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