An unarmed man was killed by police in the Bronx on Thursday, after a routine traffic stop turned into a 90-second struggle that ended with an NYPD sergeant firing his gun at point blank range. It’s the second fatal police shooting this week, and the third time that police have shot at a suspect in three days.
The incident unfolded at around 3 p.m. on Bainbridge Avenue near East 211th Street, when a sergeant and two uniformed officers noticed an SUV driver not wearing a seatbelt, according to the NYPD. Using their department smartphones, the cops determined that the man had three open warrants for minor violations, including littering, police said.
As officers directed the man to exit the car so they could arrest him, the suspect “initiated a violent struggle,” according to NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan. He allegedly placed the car into drive, and then reverse, as the sergeant deployed his Taser from inside the vehicle.
"When the car was put in reverse, the officer on the driver's side had to release his grip on the male and jump out of the way to avoid getting struck by the car,” Monahan added. “The driver's door then quickly closed." That’s when the sergeant fired one shot at the driver’s chest, killing him.
"This violent struggle between the male and the officers lasted approximately one and a half minutes before the shot was fired," Monahan estimated. "At this time the sergeant fired one round from his service weapon striking the male in the chest. The officers then began to render aid."
Video obtained by News 12 Bronx shows the sequence of events leading up to the deadly use of force. It does not appear to show any of the officers being dragged by the moving vehicle, as Monahan appeared to suggest.
After a shot rings out, the officer is seen pulling the man out of the car and placing him in handcuffs. The victim was rushed to St. Barnabas Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The man, whose name has not been released, was found with “substantial amount of narcotics,” including what appears to be cocaine, heroin, and MDMA, police said. The sergeant’s identity has also not been released, and it’s unclear whether he was wearing a body-worn camera at the time of the incident.
On Tuesday night, police officers fatally shot an allegedly armed man outside the Gowanus Houses in Brooklyn. Cops also shot and wounded a man accused of firing a gun at a Bronx subway station on Wednesday morning.
Last month, police opened fire on a man near the Edenwald Houses in the Bronx, killing both him and one of their own, Officer Brian Mulkeen. The NYPD has not yet released body camera footage from that incident.