NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A retired NYPD officer accused of shooting his neighbor in Greenpoint triggering an intense standoff with police was arraigned Tuesday afternoon.
51-year-old Gene Barrett has been charged with first degree attempted murder, first degree assault, first degree robbery, menacing, and burglary.
Barrett was led out of the 94th precinct Tuesday, less than 24 hours after he allegedly shot 45-year-old Joseph Stepinski during what investigators say may have been a dispute over rent.
Police say around 2:30 Monday afternoon, Barrett shot Stepinski outside of 185 Greenpoint Ave., where both men lived.
Witnesses watched it all unfold just outside of 185 Greenpoint Avenue where investigators say Stepinski was shot at point blank range, once in the head. Barrett then went through Stepinski’s pockets and went inside.
“I thought it was a tire being blown out and it kind of startled me,” a witness named Colleen said.
Sources say when responding officers got to the scene, they saw Barrett through a first floor window with a gun and he said “it was me, it was me.”
“He pointed the gun at the officer,” Colleen said. “At that point, she kind a like backed up in the doorway of that building.”
After about an hour long standoff, he surrendered. Inside the home, police found two guns and two cell phones on the table.
Jared Friedman, who works nearby, snapped pictures and described officers frantically shouting.
“‘He has a gun! He has a gun! Get back!’ I was out here at the moment and we just ran back inside,” Friedman said. “It was pretty scary.”
Sources say Barrett had an ongoing dispute with Stepinski over Barrett’s rent stabilized apartment, CBS2’s Janelle Burrell reported. The victim’s girlfriend is apparently the building’s manager.
“In this neighborhood they have top dollar for the neighborhood, everybody pays high price for the rent,” neighbor Louis Andino said. “He wanted to live here and he was having problems.”
“The last person I would expect would be a police officer to be involved in this,” said neighbor Angelo Paravalos.
“Never in my dreams would I have expected him to take it this far,” Andino said.
The landlord told investigators Barrett has lived in the building for about 25 years and had been a problem tenant. Barrett had several complaints filed against him, including complaints about bedbugs and being combative against other tenants.
Barrett — who retired from the NYPD in 2002 — has filed 12 complaints with police, eight of which involved the victim. He’s scheduled to return to court Friday.
Stepinski remains in critical condition.