ARDSLEY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A suspect was killed and two officers were hurt in a wild shootout at a Westchester County motel.
Investigators said the suspect opened fire on officers. The spray of bullets forced police to lock down the area, CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported Tuesday.
Sylvio DeSalvatore said he had just finished running his basketball league at House of Sports in Ardsley at around 9 p.m. on Monday, when he was told he couldn’t leave. The popular indoor sports complex right next door to the Ardsley Acres Motel property was put on lockdown by police, as the FBI prepped for a raid.
“There had to be 90 to about 100 people between the soccer, basketball, track, everyone was waiting in there,” DeSalvatore said. “It gets a little chaotic because you don’t know what’s going on. It’s 500 feet away and there was about 14 cop cars out there.”
More than an hour passed before stranded people started hearing gunfire.
The FBI, with the help of multiple law enforcement agencies from the area, went in to raid the room of two fugitives wanted for several outstanding warrants outside New York, including some for drugs. Guest Anthony Passananti said he was stepping out of his room when the gun battle erupted.
“I walked out of my room to get my charger and I heard hundreds of gunshots,” Passananti said.
“I hid in the bathroom for an hour and a half,” another witness said. “It traumatized me last night. I felt helpless. I didn’t know what was going on.”
Police said 42-year-old suspect Samuel Galberth of West Haven, Conn., did not want to surrender peacefully as officers approached the room.
“He was opening up the door, sticking their hand out and just firing rounds in the direction of the officers,” Ardsley Police Chief Anthony Piccolino said.
Blasted-out window shutters show where Galberth was shot and killed. The man with him was arrested on a robbery warrant. Orange cones marked the shell casings of the dozens of bullets fired in the exchange.
Two sergeants, one from the Greenburgh Police Department and the other from the Dobbs Ferry Police Department, were injured, with one wounded in the chest.
“The vest saved the one officer,” Piccolino said. “The other one was a graze to his leg.”
Many locals were relieved no innocent victims were killed, but said it will take some time to shake off what happened.
“This is a nice area. I love it up here, but this was a nightmare,” Passananti said.
“I feel like nothing really happens here. [It’s a] small community, a quiet, nice safe town,” resident Nadia Ivanova added.
Police said they don’t normally have problems at the motel and wanted to send a clear message to the community.
“The scene is safe. The village is safe,” Piccolino said.