The Pelham Manor chief of police says that the police officer who fatally shot a man after following him from the Westchester suburb into the Bronx followed police procedure. According to the Journal News, Pelham Manor Police Officer Kenneth Stretz spotted the ATV on Boston Post Road at 5:51 p.m. on Sunday—"It is not legal to drive an ATV on a public street"—and pursued Harlem resident Wardell Johnson into the Bronx. And, after the ATV ran out of gas and he tried to flee by running into a backyard, two witnesses told the NYPD that they saw Johnson trying to choke Stretz and take the cop's gun.
The Daily News also reports, "During the initial struggle, Johnson snatched the cop's radio and tossed it onto the roof of a neighboring one-story garage, police sources said. Kelly said NYPD cops were not involved in the incident, though the department is investigating. He said Johnson was arrested more than 30 times in the 47th Precinct in the Bronx, where the shooting occurred." The Post adds that Johnson's arrests included "kidnapping, assault, aggravated harassment, several assaults and weapons possession" plus he once served time for a 1987 murder, but details of that incident were sealed.
Johnson was hit once in the heart. It was initially reported that Johnson bought the ATV in Connecticut for his son, who was allegedly driving a car behind him, but the Journal News reports, "A spokesman for the New York City Police Department said a car was reportedly following Johnson, but investigators had not determined who was in that vehicle, which disappeared. New York police said they don't know why Johnson or the other driver fled." Johnson's wife, who he married earlier this year after many years of dating, told the News, "I can't believe that this is happening. They just took my soul mate... We were planning on moving down south together. Now our dreams are shattered."