If you've crossed paths with the cover of the NY Post today, you may have spotted the top story about a "dopey cop" who made the mistake of handing his gun over to a janitor while in the midst of apprehending a fleeing suspect. What you probably wouldn't have picked up on is that the officer in question passing off his weapon to a civilian might be the one of the more mundane details of the East Side chase that led to it. Here's a rundown of yesterday's off-the-wall series of events:
- Police spotted career criminal Jeffrey McNair, 42, driving wildly at 8th Avenue and 34th Street. When they began to follow him, he quickly made his way across 34th to the East Side.
- At First Avenue, McNair struck a taxi, jumped the curb and ran into a female jogger with his gray Toyota. As he began backing up, he would strike the jogger again.
- Making his way up the FDR, he reached 51st Street before running into an Access-a-Ride van, a collision that would force him to get out of his car and leave it behind.
- McNair ran across the highway and had to climb over two razor-sharp fences. On the second one, he badly cut his hand and began bleeding profusely. At this point, he attempted to climb in an open window on the first-floor of a building just off the FDR at 52nd.
- While trying to enter the apartment window, he was confronted by 59-year-old grandmother Angela Traviglione, who shoved McNair out and threatened him with a wine bottle. McNair was yelling, Mama, mama, help me! I'm running from the police!" Traviglione then watched as he fled and scaled another fence. She told the Post, "He was like Spider-Man. I never saw someone move like that."
- McNair then went into the basement of a nearby building where he discovered a janitor's jumpsuit, put it on and picked up a mop. When the cop trailing him finally caught up, the officer yelled, "Drop the mop!"
It was only after all this that the officer ended up passing his gun over to the janitor who had unknowingly lent his uniform to the suspect, 51-year-old Placido Contreras. As the cop wrestled with a bloody McNair, he passed his gun to Contreras and told him, "Keep your eyes on him and shoot him if you have to." The janitor told the Post that it was the first time he held a real gun.
McNair was eventually arrested and taken to Bellevue. Contreras had to ask police to retrieve his jewelry and money from his jumpsuit since it was now covered in blood and unwearable. NYPD did not release the name of the arresting officer, but spokesman Paul Browne told reporters, "The officer did a remarkable job in locating and apprehending the suspect, adapting as circumstances required."