NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A fugitive wanted for nearly two decades on drug charges was wounded during a shootout with U.S. marshals who tracked him down in Queens, federal authorities said.

It happened around 11 p.m. Tuesday when a team of marshals and NYPD officers tried to arrest Oswald Lewis at an apartment in Springfield Gardens.

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Authorities said Lewis was armed with two handguns and wearing a bulletproof vest when he fired several rounds at the officers moments after they entered the apartment.

The team returned fired, hitting Lewis in the arm before he surrendered.

Investigators say Lewis only surrendered after running out of ammunition.


Oswald Lewis (credit: DEA)

Oswald Lewis (credit: DEA)

“I hear the suspect himself screaming, ‘They’re going to kill me, they’re trying to kill me,'” said resident Stacey Barnett. “Before I know it, it was over.”

Residents described a frightening scene in what they said is typically a quiet neighborhood.

“It was like a firecracker,” resident Bertram Thomas told CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell. “Pop, pop, pop, pop!”

“I immediately got on the floor,” said resident Tonia Curtis. “I didn’t know what else to do.”

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“To me it was like this guy was ready to kill anybody, you know what I mean, because what type of man walks around with a bulletproof vest and is not a cop,” another man told 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria. “I’m glad they came and got this guy.”

The 44-year-old Lewis was wanted on federal and state cocaine trafficking charges dating back to 1991 in Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina, authorities said.

Investigators said he managed to evade police by using at least three aliases.

“After over 20 years on the run as a fugitive, the U.S. Marshals in Brooklyn tracked down Lewis in about a week,” Charles Dunne, the U.S Marshal for the Eastern District of New York, said in a statement. “This case exemplifies the ability of the U.S. Marshals to return fugitives to justice using a combination of modern technology and traditional investigative techniques.”

According to the NYPD, Lewis had two drug convictions in New York City from 1986.

Lewis is now in Jamaica Hospital.

None of  the marshals were hurt.

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