The medical examiner's office says that the bullet that killed a man at a Harlem block party early Sunday morning likely came from a police officer's gun. At least 50 shots were fired—mostly from the police—during the chaos, and six others were injured. Initially police said that Luis Soto, 21, was killed by Angel Alvarez (their fight initially drew police attention); Alvarez himself suffered 21 gun shots and survived. Now the Manhattan DA's office plans to present the police shooting to a grand jury.
There were five police officers—two uniformed and three plainclothes—on the scene. The NY Times reports:
"The first officer to fire was Douglas Brightman, 31, a uniformed officer who has been on the force eight years. He fired two rounds, one striking the bullet-resistant vest of a plainclothes officer, Michael Tedeschi, who was shot in the chest. He and Officer Alfredo Vargas, 28, who was grazed in the hand, were released from the hospital on Monday. Officer Vargas did not fire.
Officer Tedeschi, 36, who has been on the force three and a half years, fired 16 times. He was one of three plainclothes anticrime officers who fired in the direction of Mr. Alvarez. The other two were Sgt. Paul Kerrigan, 39, a 16-year veteran, who fired 16 times; and Officer Thomas Cozart, 34, a five-year veteran, who fired 12 times."
Some witnesses says they heard the police identify themselves and yell "Freeze" and "Drop the gun," while one told the Daily News that the cops were firing at Alvarez for "no reason...[Soto and Alvarez] were arguing. They were scuffling. The kid from the Bronx pulled out a gun. Angel saw it. They started scuffling for it....The cops started to focus their attention on Angel."
Alvarez's lawyer John Carney says his client that Soto had the gun, adding, "He's been conscious, and he survived more gunshot wounds than probably anyone in the history of America." But later on Carney was replaced by another lawyer.
Soto's family claims he didn't have a gun and wants an independent autopsy. (The Daily News notes that Soto fancied himself a "tough gangbanger" on Twitter.) The police are reviewing the shooting internally as well; Mayor Bloomberg said, "I want to make sure that we followed all the procedures and we will. But the story is: Too many illegal guns on the street, people wanting to kill other people and our cops putting their lives on the line so that you and I can go about our business safely."