NY suspect fatally shot during traffic stop

A detective fired a single shot that hit the driver, who was reportedly unarmed

By J. David Goodman
The New York Times Blogs

QUEENS, N.Y. — A police officer fatally shot an unarmed 22-year-old man early Thursday morning during a traffic stop on the side of a highway in Queens, the police said.

The shooting occurred at 5:15 a.m. on the Grand Central Parkway near La Guardia Airport after police pulled over the driver, who had been driving erratically and twice cut between two police vehicles from the Emergency Services Unit, the police said.

The man, whose age was originally listed as 20, was shot in the abdomen and was taken to New York Hospital Queens, the Fire Department said. The police did not identify the man, but said he lived in LeFrak City, a rental complex in Corona, Queens.

The two passengers in the car, which was traveling eastbound and had recently left a Queens nightclub called the Ice Lounge, included a woman who worked as bartender at the club and a female off-duty police officer. The police said the off-duty officer was asleep in the back seat and did not witness the shooting.

No one else was injured, fire officials said. A small power drill was found in the car, the police said, and no gun was recovered.

The police vehicles, a truck and a van, were unmarked and carried several uniformed officers who were traveling from the Bronx to Brooklyn to execute a warrant, the police said. Sirens flashing, the police vehicles sandwiched the car, a black Honda, and slowed, causing the driver to stop, the police said.

Two officers in the front police vehicle — a sergeant and a detective — approached the car, a Honda. The detective was on the passenger side, where the window was open, the police said, and the bartender, who was seated there, told the police she heard the officers tell those inside the car to show their hands.

The police said there were reports of movement inside the car but they would not elaborate.

The detective, a 39-year-old officer who joined the force in 1998, fired a single shot that hit the driver, the police said. The officer had no prior shooting incidents.

The bartender told the police that she had served drinks to the driver, who also worked at the club, which is at 33-04 Broadway in Astoria.

The police did not say how many drinks the driver had consumed nor whether he had made any movement inside the car after the stop.

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