NEW ORLEANS -- Police are looking for the gunman who wounded an officer during a drive-by shooting early Monday in Uptown.

Police Superintendent Michael Harrison said Officer Chris Abbott was working a private, off-duty neighborhood watch detail for the Hurstville Security and Neighborhood Improvement District when he was struck in the leg.

It was at least the third time the decorated veteran office had been shot during his career with the NOPD.

Police said Abbott, who was dressed in his uniform, was on patrol in his private vehicle when an SUV sped up behind him about 1:15 a.m.

Abbott pulled over near Jefferson Avenue and Camp Street, and the SUV slowed down. At that point, someone inside the SUV opened fired on Abbott’s car, striking him once.

The SUV was described as dark and with the rear windshield either missing or shattered.

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Abbott was in good condition at University Medical Center, Harrison shortly after the shooting. Abbott had been released by midday.

It did not appear Abbott returned fire, Harrison said.

"There are more questions we have to ask, information we need to get," Harrison said. "We have protocols we are going to follow to ascertain and confirm all the answers to those questions."

Abbott has been with the NOPD since 1992 and has worked with the Hurstville Association for the last 15 years, according to the association’s website.

Abbott was one of the city’s first community policing officers, a group of cops credited with helping to drastically reduce crime in the city's housing developments.

"We're doing it because we want to do it," Abbott told WWL-TV upon that assignment. "You get a good relationship with the people by themselves one-on-one and it's just like you're in your own neighborhood."

Then, in the summer of 1996, he set up the Cops for Kids program, mentoring children and setting up field trips and games for 2,500 children from the housing developments.

"I come from a low-income environment, and I'm a police officer" he told WWL-TV at the time. "A lot of 'em say if he can do it, I can do it."

He was first shot in 1998 after stopping a suspect in the C.J. Peete public housing development.

He was shot again in 2001 -- that time in the head, chest and stomach -- when he stopped an armed man walking in Treme near Dumaine and North Johnson streets. Just before that shooting, he was driving the lead police van for the Special Olympics torch run. He was on his way to court to testify in a trial when he pulled over to talk to Brandy Jefferson, who fired three shots and took Abbott's gun when he fled.

Anyone with information about Monday's shooting or the vehicle is asked to contact 2nd District detectives at (504) 658-6020.

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