A suspected sex offender recently featured on CNN’s “The Hunt” with John Walsh was killed Monday in Manhattan while police were attempting to arrest him on child molestation charges, according to two New York law enforcement sources.
Charles Mozdir, 32, had been sought by authorities since June 2012.
Two U.S. marshals and a New York police officer were also wounded during the attempted arrest, a law enforcement official said.
Walsh said that after the episode featuring Mozdir aired, authorities received a tip that he was working at a restaurant in Manhattan, but the information didn’t pan out. After CNN re-aired Mozdir’s episode Sunday night, another tip came in that resulted in an address for Mozdir, according to Walsh.
The shooting occurred inside a Greenwich Village smoke shop where the suspect worked, a law enforcement official said. Police are canvassing the area for video, according to a New York law enforcement source.
A firearm was recovered at the scene, New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said.
The wounded officers — all of whom were part of a U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force — were transported to Bellevue Hospital, he said.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said their injuries did not appear to be life-threatening.
Mozdir was arrested in California in 2012 after the young son of two close friends told his parents that Mozdir had touched his private parts. Mozdir was at their house helping care for the now-7-year-old boy, who was ill with a high fever. His parents, who requested that their names not be used, immediately went to police.
“He was on the run for almost two years. And this family was destroyed, terrified that he would come back and hurt them because they had the courage to come forward and file charges against him, and now they don’t have to worry if this guy’s coming back to hurt the family or hurt their little boy,” Walsh said Monday. “And they get justice.”
After the parents’ report in 2012, investigators in Coronado, California, 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.
Mozdir was arrested four days after the incident and booked into the San Diego County jail before posting bail the next day. The district attorney told the couple that Mozdir had been accused in another child assault case when he was babysitting a young boy, who told his mother. On June 15, 2012, Mozdir failed to appear at his arraignment.
Charges were immediately filed, and arrest warrants were issued. Grimes said investigators believe he took all his money and fled. Mozdir indicated that he was considering going to Mexico or Japan during one of his last phone calls. His roommate told police that Mozdir had two guns and had threatened to kill himself and kill a victim’s father.
The Coronado Police Department and the U.S. Marshals Service searched for Mozdir in Georgia and California, as well as the Mexican state of Baja California. On June 20, 2012, Coronado police found Mozdir’s abandoned vehicle hidden in the brush outside the coastal Georgia town of Darien. The license plate had been ripped off, and there was an extra gas tank inside. A bloodhound picked up Mozdir’s scent near U.S. Highway 17.
On Monday, Walsh described Mozdir’s death as a “very shocking ending.”
“But it shows how much the public cares and how much they can help,” he said.
“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.”
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