Police kill man in Bronx, officials say

Bronx police officers killed a man they said shot at them with an air pistol on Friday night, the second fatal encounter in the neighborhood in four days.

The confrontation that led to the shooting took place around 7 pm near the intersection of Seneca and Hunts Point avenues in the Hunts Point section of the South Bronx, officials said.

Plainclothes narcotics detectives working in the area said they overheard a dispute in which a man said he was going to his car to retrieve a weapon, according to an account given by Deputy Chief Philip Rivera at a press conference around 10 pm.

The man returned in a pickup truck and pulled out at the corner of the avenues when a detective approached him wearing a vest emblazoned with the word “police,” the officer said. Another detective yelled, “Police – don’t move,” according to Deputy Chief Rivera’s account of the incident.

The man fired what Underboss Rivera said was a so-called airsoft pistol, missing a detective’s head from a distance of about 15 feet. The weapon “looks like a semi-automatic firearm,” he said.

The officers fired 10 shots at the man, hitting him five times. He died at Lincoln Medical Center, said Assistant Chief Rivera. Authorities did not identify the man, but cited a history of criminal arrests.

Police did not say whether video of the shooting was recorded. They released a photograph of the airgun.

Neither of the two police officers involved in the shooting were hit, officials said. They were taken to Jacobi Medical Center to be treated for ringing in the ears, where Mayor Eric Adams visited them, according to a city spokesman.

The Friday shooting came after officers killed a 25-year-old man in the Claremont section of the Bronx on Tuesday. Authorities said the man fired twice as officers chased him, hitting one in the arm. The wounded officer left the hospital several hours later.

The officer injured in the shooting, who is being investigated by the Police Department’s Force Investigation Division and the State Attorney General’s Office, was just the last to be wounded by gunfire this year.

In the most serious of these incidents, two police officers were killed in January after being shot in a Harlem apartment while responding to a call about a fight between a mother and son.

Earlier that month, a police officer was hospitalized after being shot while sleeping in a car outside an East Harlem police station, and another officer was hit by a bullet during a confrontation with a teenage suspect in the Bronx.

The shootings of police officers and others are among the high-profile examples of an increase in gun violence that arrived with the pandemic, persisted throughout, and remains at the top of Adams’ agenda to improve public safety.

The increase, part of a broader national trend, has been most acute in neighborhoods like the South Bronx, which are home to many poor and working-class black and Hispanic residents and have long been plagued by shootings.

The shooting deaths of officers in January prompted Adams to fulfill an important campaign promise by introducing a revamped version of a specialized police unit focused on taking guns off the streets.

The unit’s new incarnation — which had been disbanded in 2020 in an acknowledgment by officers that it had sowed tension between officers and the people they serve — began operating last month. Critics have raised doubts about whether the new unit is an improvement over its predecessor.

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