NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Some people have called for two officers to be suspended, after two bystanders were struck near the Port Authority Bus Terminal late Saturday by police gunfire intended a man officers believed was emotionally disturbed.
As WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reported Sunday, it was a New York moment that was sure to be hard to forget for some residents and tourists.
As CBS 2’s Dave Carlin reported, the 35-year-old man police said started it all was seen in a green sweatshirt, gray shorts and white sneakers as he staggered in and out of traffic at 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue.
Witnesses said it appeared the man was on drugs and was trying to get hit by a car. He narrowly escaped getting hit by vehicles as they swerved around him.
“The guy was like wandering in the street like he was lost, and he’s a pretty big guy,” a witness told CBS 2’s Carlin. “There was one officer that was trying to get him to come out of the middle of traffic, and, I don’t know, he looked like he was on something because he kept trying to move and run, and he … dove in front of a car, and it almost ran him over.”
His agitated behavior escalated, and more and more officers arrived — with their guns drawn.
A YouTube video captured the moment when police started pursuing the man.
“So the officers went into the intersection attempting to take him into custody,” police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.
But the man then reached into his pocket.
“He put his hands on his pocket took it out and hand and simulated shooting at the officer,” Kelly said.
The gesture prompted two officers to fire a total three shots, Kelly said.
On the shaky YouTube video, people can be heard screaming as the shots were fired. A man can be heard telling others near him: “Oh my God! Go, go, go, go, go, go, go! Get down, get down, get down, get down!”
None of the shots hit the intended target, but two women watching the chaotic scene just before 10 p.m. were struck.
A 54-year-old woman was shot in the right knee and required surgery, 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reported.
That woman – identified by friends as Theodora Ray – lives right around the corner from the shooting scene in the Theater District, according to friends.
“I’m glad it wasn’t in her head; it was in her leg,” said Abner Sanabria.
She was recovering from surgery on two broken bones Sunday night.
A 35-year-old woman who also lives in Manhattan suffered a graze wound to her buttocks.
Neither of the women’s injuries was considered life-threatening, police said. Still, friends and neighbors were furious.
“I feel what they did was reckless,” Sanabria said. “They should be suspended for that.”
“If the perp didn’t have no gun, why are you taking out a gun and shooting?” another neighbor said.
The suspect, Glenn Broadnax, of Brooklyn, was finally subdued by a Taser gun. He was taken to Bellevue Hospital for observation, WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reported. Broadnax is charged with several counts including resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and criminal possession of a controlled substance.
He was arraigned Sunday evening.
Police said Broadnax was in prison twice and has 13 prior arrests, for assault and for robbery.
There were no other known injuries.
One of the officers who fired the shots has been on the force for three years, and the other for a year and a half, CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell reported. Both are on what is called modified assignment while the investigation is under way.
In August 2012, nine people were injured from bullets fired by police in a confrontation with a gunman near the Empire State Building. They were hit by stray bullets, ricochets and fragments, suffering non-life-threatening gunshot and graze wounds. Officials at the time defended the officers’ decision to fire on a street crowded with people.
Police guidelines tell officers to avoid unnecessarily endangering innocent people. But police are allowed to use deadly force when faced with an imminent threat of serious injury or death.
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