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Bystander dies after being shot by NYPD undercover officer

Officer opened fire on an armed suspect during an undercover gun buy that went bad

Associated Press

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. — An innocent bystander accidentally shot by a plainclothes officer died early Saturday, hours after being wounded when the officer opened fire on an armed suspect during an undercover gun buy that went bad, New York City police said.

Felix Kumi, 61, of Mount Vernon died shortly before 1 a.m., authorities said. He was shot Friday afternoon after a man pulled a gun on an undercover NYPD officer during a probe into the sale of illegal firearms, officials said.

The 37-year-old gunman was struck three times in the torso while another bullet struck Kumi, police said. The gunman, whose identity was not immediately released, was taken to a hospital. Charges against him were pending.

In a statement released Saturday afternoon, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said he wanted to express “profound sorrow and sympathy” to Kumi’s family.

“Mr. Kumi was blameless, and this tragedy has tested and tried his family,” Bratton said. “I pray that they may find comfort in their hope of resurrection and awakening, and I tender the department’s support and service in their grief.”

Kumi’s daughter, Rachel Kumi, 25, told the Journal News ( she’s still trying to cope with the loss of her father.

“It’s a travesty that this happened,” she told the newspaper. “He was kind and loving and concerned ... If you ever needed anything, my father would never say no.”

Police said a second suspect, 28-year-old Jeffrey Aristy of the Bronx, was arrested on drugs and weapons charges. He was described by police as the target of the undercover probe.

Aristy contacted an officer Friday saying he had guns for sale, authorities said. When an undercover officer met him in the Bronx, Aristy entered the officer’s unmarked car and told him to drive to a residential neighborhood in Mount Vernon, police said.

When they arrived there around 4 p.m., the other man hopped in the back seat, pointed a gun at the officer’s head and demanded money, police said. The undercover officer handed cash to the second man before signaling for backup and confronting him in the street, where the officer began firing when the man pointed his gun at him, police said.

Police said they found a replica of a large-caliber gun and the officer’s money on the gunman.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press