Molestation suspect featured on CNN’s ‘The Hunt’ killed during attempted arrest
NEW YORK — 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 City law enforcement sources.
Two U.S. marshals and a New York City police officer were also wounded during the attempted arrest, a law enforcement official said.
Charles Mozdir, 32, had been sought by authorities since June 2012.
Walsh told CNN that after the episode that featured 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 in an apartment in Manhattan’s West Village. Police are currently canvassing the area for video, according to a New York City law enforcement source.
The wounded officers — all of whom were part of a U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force — were transported to Bellevue Hospital, New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said their injuries appear to be non-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 son, who was ill with a high fever.
His parents, who requested their names not be used, immediately went to police.
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 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.