A cop believed to have died from wounds suffered in a shooting in the Bronx nearly 20 years ago turned up alive on Monday — just days after a man was arrested in the case.
Officer Vincent Ling survived the December 1999 incident in the Bronx in which he traded gunfire with Lester Pearson, now 43 and a Jacksonville, Fla. resident.
Pearson was arrested at his home Friday, and authorities put out word that Ling’s killer was in custody. NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill even tweeted about it.
O’Neill’s tweet was deleted by Monday afternoon, and police officials said a misreading of the attempted murder warrant against Pearson led to the confusion.
Ling was off duty when he was shot. Because he worked undercover, his name was not released at the time of the incident. News reports of the time say he spent at least a month in the hospital, and was partly paralyzed by a bullet lodged in his spine.
“He’s very much alive,” uncle Thomas Ling told the Daily News. “I saw him last year.”
Vincent Ling, now 47, has not been reachable for comment. Thomas Ling said his nephew retired from the force, but declined to comment further. 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.
Pearson and Ling grew up in the same Bronx neighborhood, and Pearson had a long-standing beef with Ling over Ling’s sister, who Pearson once dated.
Pearson opened fire and Ling — a five-year NYPD veteran — fired back. Their gun battle left the bullet in Ling’s spine, and also put a bullet in the thigh of Pearson’s girlfriend. At least 11 shots were fired.
Person turned himself in to Bronx prosecutors in on Feb. 2, 2000, a bit more than a month after the shooting — but he skipped bail. He has a record of several of other arrests, including a drug case in Louisiana where he was accused of assaulting a state police officer.