The events of the early Sunday morning shooting that left one man dead and at least six—including two cops—injured in Harlem are still being investigated. So far, this is known: At least 50 bullets were fired; 46 came from cops; one of the cops was hit by a police bullet; one civilian victim is in critical condition after suffering 21 bullet wounds. Police spokesman Paul Browne said of the five cops—two uniformed, three plainclothes—"Officers were converging from different areas in a tumultuous situation." A witness said, "We got out of a cab, and it just sounded like Vietnam out here."
Apparently two hundred people were at Lenox Avenue and 144th Street for a block party. At one point, police say, police fired at Angel Alverez, who allegedly fatally shot Luis Soto. According to WABC 7, "At this point, the 23-year-old Alvarez is not in police custody and has not been charged with anything. But that could change as investigators take a closer look at what happened." Some experts expect him to live, since the 20+ gunshots didn't hit any major organs, but his relatives don't believe he could have killed Soto and say the gun recovered at the scene wasn't his. His sister said, "If he was in a situation where he had to defend himself, he would use his hands first."
It's believe that Alvarez, 23, and Soto, 22, were arguing over a woman. The NY Times reports, "Shariff Spencer, 28, a friend of Mr. Alvarez’s, said that Mr. Soto and Mr. Alvarez had been atop a car, then tumbled to the ground and were quickly surrounded by officers. At that point, Mr. Spencer said, a gunshot went off nearby. Then, he said, the police opened fire." Spencer said, "Never once did you hear, ‘Freeze.' Never once did you hear, ‘Stop.’ Never once did you hear, ‘N.Y.P.D.’"
Alvarez's lawyer John Carney told the Post that the gun was actually Soto's (there may be a video) and that his client and Soto were fighting over it; Carney called the shooting an act of self-defense. But Soto's cousin told WABC 7, "He was a good kid, didn't carry a gun on him. A good kid, didn't deserve that."
Police sources told the Daily News, "And because of [three bystanders being shot], and the number of shots, this is going to be a shooting where the tactics are taken a hard look at," and "It's justified, but messy." And Mayor Bloomberg said, "Two police officers shot, fortunately not seriously. [The other police officer suffered a graze wound to the hand.] But there but for the grace of God it could have been much worse. And in terms of our abilities to protect ourselves, to be safe on our streets, we've just got to do something about all these guns—the guns that keep flooding into our cities."