Ever since the Saturday police shooting outside a Queens club that killed one man and injured two others, there has been talk of a fourth man in the group. Police have claimed that the undercover officers shot at them because they feared the men were armed, but no weapons were found on the men or in their car. The officers on the scene have insisted a fourth man in a beige jacket was near the car, and the Daily News reported that witnesses picked him out from two lineups. The police hope to speak to him, as they have been looking in the drains near the Kalua Lounge for a dumped gun. But a resident nearby told NY1, "If they find a gun, then none of the kids fingerprints is going to be on it. So that's just a waste of taxpayers' time."
One of the injured men, Joseph Guzman, who had been in critical condition with multiple wounds, has spoken and reportedly said "They tried to kill me", referring to the police. The police haven't questioned him yet, and his fiancee said, ""It's extremely hard on the body when you have 19 holes."
Governor Pataki and Governor-elect Spitzer taken the Bloomberg approach and both called the firing of 50 shots excessive, but both agreed that all the information needs to be gathered first. Spitzer told El Diario, "This terrible tragedy deserves to be fully investigated," but did not make any remarks about bringing in a special prosecutor. The Reverend Jesse Jackson, though, called it "a gangland-style execution,” on NY1 last night. He said, “This was no shootout between rival forces. This was a gangland-style execution where the police became judge, jury and executioner."
Guzman, Trent Benefield and the deceased Sean Bell had been celebrating Bell's wedding later that day at a strip club where the police had been conducting an undercover operation. When the three were leaving in Bell's car, the car clipped an undercover officer who fired at them (he claims he identified himself as a police officer before firing), the car then hit a minivan that held other undercover officers, some of whom fired.
The officer that fired 31 shots, which would have required reloading his gun at least once, was 35 year old Michael Oliver. Radar Online reported that Oliver was a fixture at Bungalow 8 and known as "Undercover Mike" : "He'd have one drink and nurse it all night but talk about how wasted he was. It was clear to everyone who knew him that he was doing more than just drinking."
The Daily News has profiles on the other police officers from the evening: The lieutenant who led the other officers (and did not fire his gun) Gary Napoli is painted as a good, family guy who hugs his officers; hewas transferred to the club enforcement unit from narcotics because "he took a vacation day to visit his elderly parents on the day he was supposed to attend a mandatory Compstat meeting." The NY Times notes that while police guidelines prohibits police from shooting at vehicles, two recent incidents have occurred where the police used their guns - as the drivers in the cars were armed.
Photograph of the makeshift memorial outside the Kalua Lounge where the shooting took place by Adam Rountree/AP