Police: 2 Arrested In Bronx Shooting Of 2 NYPD Officers

NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — Two suspects have been arrested in connection Tuesday afternoon in connection with the shooting of two NYPD officers responding to a grocery store robbery in the Bronx, according to police.

Jason Polanco — the suspected gunman — was charged with five counts of attempted murder of a police officer, as well as robbery, a weapons charge, and carjacking, police said. A second suspect, Joshua Kemp, was charged with robbery, criminal possession of a weapon, and criminal possession of stolen property, police said.

Both were silent as they were hauled out in handcuffs Tuesday night.

The chain of events started around 10:10 p.m. Monday, when two men – allegedly Kemp and Polanco – entered the Yemen Deli at 180th Street and Webster Avenue and announced a robbery, according to NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce.

As CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported, surveillance video showed a man with a bag jumping the counter, while another man with a gun ordered two customers to the ground.

“I’m working here. I make sandwiches, and I’m like this,” Abdo Alarir said, sticking his hands in the air as he described the terrifying incident to CBS2’s Jessica Schneider.

The store clerk took off, but the suspect caught up to him, dropped his knife, picked it back up, and dragged the clerk back around the corner ordering him to open the register, police said. Surveillance video showed the suspect dumping money into the duffel bag from the deli and lottery registers.

“I was scared,” Alarir said, “Very scared.”

The suspects were wearing masks and distinctive clothing during the robbery, Boyce said. After the robbery, the suspects walked west on 180th Street and north on Tiebout Avenue, Boyce said.

Meanwhile, the five members of the 46th Precinct Anti-Crime Unit were preparing to end their day and go off duty, when they heard a call of a robbery from a patrol sergeant. The officers drove down 180th Street past the robbery scene, left on Webster Avenue, left on 184th Street, and left on Tiebout Avenue where they found the suspects, Boyce said.

At one point, the suspects noticed the officers, and one of them ducked into a nearby Chinese restaurant, Boyce said. The officers exited and approached the suspect identified as Kemp who remained in view, Boyce said.

Meanwhile, Polanco allegedly bought a Snapple iced tea at the restaurant and then fired one round, Boyce said. As 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon reported, one of  Polanco’s rounds accidentally struck Kemp through the window in the right bicep, and the same bullet went on to strike one of the officers, Boyce said.

As the suspects ran off, Polanco fired again, Boyce said. He fired three rounds from the large .44-caliber Magnum and struck the two officers, Boyce said.

The bullets struck 30-year-old Officer Andrew Dossi, a Rockland County Army veteran who served two tours in Iraq, and 38-year-old Officer Aliro Pellerano.

Dossi was shot in the arm and back while Pellerano was hit in the arm and torso.

Officer Michael Pomerantz fired three shots, but did not strike either suspect. The shots fired by Pomerantz did not strike either suspect.

The suspects then ran up 184th Street and made a right turn, where Polanco carjacked a white Camaro, Boyce alleged. Polanco broke from Kemp and drove the stolen vehicle to Webster Avenue, turned right on 188th Street, and crashed the vehicle, Boyce alleged.

Polanco then ran off and threw the gun on the ground, Boyce said.

A black revolver police say was recovered after two NYPD officers were shot and wounded in the Bronx on Jan. 5, 2015.  (credit: NYPD)

A black revolver police say was recovered after two NYPD officers were shot and wounded in the Bronx on Jan. 5, 2015. (credit: NYPD)

The Camaro was found abandoned at 188th and Park Avenue, police said. The gun was found nearby.

After releasing a surveillance image of a suspect in the early morning hours Tuesday, police received 29 calls – 10 of which identified the suspect as Polanco, Boyce said. Polanco was arrested around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday at Westchester and East Tremont avenues in the Bronx, along with another person who was not involved in the crime, Boyce said.

Meanwhile, as WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported, Kemp found his way to NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, where he told police he had been shot on Dyckman Street in Upper Manhattan, Boyce said.

But there was no record of anyone being shot on Dyckman Street, and Kemp’s story fell apart, Boyce said. So did the story of the second person who took Kemp to the hospital, Boyce said.

“Luckily, the story didn’t add up; that we saw his background, that he was a Bronx guy,” Boyce said.

The person who took Kemp to the hospital then gave up the full story of what had really happened, Boyce said. It was not clear if that person was also arrested.

Polanco has three prior arrests, though none of them for robbery, Boyce said. His past arrests are all for possession of a weapon involving cutting instruments.

Kemp has 10 prior arrests and was on parole for robbery at the time, Boyce said.

The gun involved in the crime was not registered as stolen, and the last available documentation showed it was sold in Colorado in 1983, Boyce said.

Meanwhile, the wounded officers were taken to St. Barnabas Hospital Bronx in critical but stable condition, authorities said. Bratton said Officer Pellerano was expected to be released on Wednesday morning.

“They went above and beyond the call to protect their fellow New Yorkers,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “Thank God the officers are doing well and will recover.”

In a subsequent statement released late Tuesday afternoon, de Blasio said the entire city “stands with these officers and their families as they recover from these injuries.

“This incident was yet another reminder of how profoundly important the work of our police officers is, as well as the seriousness of the dangers they face every day in the line of duty. We depend on them to keep this whole city safe, and they do it with great skill and professionalism,” the mayor said in the statement. “I also commend the investigators for their smart, thorough detective work as they pieced together the facts of the case, and everyday New Yorkers for providing more than two dozen tips to the Police Department — all of which helped bring suspects into custody earlier today.”

PBA president Patrick J. Lynch released a statement saying, “All of the thugs need to know that when you attack one of us, you attack all of us and that the NYPD will do all in its power to bring you to justice and to hold you accountable. We congratulate those officers on their speedy and excellent work.”

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. issued a statement saying his thoughts and prayers are with the officers and their families.

“The Bronx is not a safe haven for criminals and we cannot and will not tolerate the criminal actions of thugs,” he said.

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito also issued a statement, calling violence against police officers “a horrible and deplorable crime that is an assault against all New Yorkers.”

“Those who are responsible should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” she said.

Amid the newest police shooting, sources told 1010 WINS that Bratton will meet with police union leaders on Wednesday to address deteriorating relations between rank-and-file officers and Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The shooting happened about two weeks after Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were ambushed and killed while sitting in their patrol car in Brooklyn. The gunman, who made threats to police online prior to the shooting, then killed himself.

Liu’s funeral was held Sunday. Ramos’ funeral was held Dec. 27. The officers were both posthumously promoted to the rank of detective.

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