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Bodycam shows struggle after suspect grabs NYPD officer’s gun and shoots 2 cops

The footage shows the officers trying to take the man into custody for misdemeanor assault before he resisted and started brawling

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By Thomas Tracy
New York Daily News

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — A Brooklyn ex-con grabbed an NYPD officer’s gun and shot two cops when a routine domestic violence call erupted into a harrowing fight for survival, body camera footage released by police shows.

The footage of the Jan. 16 encounter, caught on the officer’s body-worn cameras, shows the officers trying to take Melvin Butler into custody for misdemeanor assault before he resisted and started brawling with Police Officers Samuel Acevedo and Timothy Brennan on the floor of a Brownsville apartment on Bergen St. near Saratoga Ave. just after 3 p.m.

Body-worn camera footage from the incident was released on the NYPD’s YouTube page Thursday afternoon.

“He’s got my gun! He’s got my f—–g gun!” Brennan screams before Butler fires off three shots from the officer’s pistol as the cops try to pin his gun hand to the floor.

“Shoot him!” Brennan is heard screaming as the officers wrestle with Butler on the floor.

Both Brennan and Acevedo were shot, one in the hand and one in the thigh, cops said. Butler was hit repeatedly and was ultimately arrested for the attempted murder of a police officer, assault and robbery.

A 911 call from Butler’s mother, who said her adult son attacked her sent the officers to the building. Butler’s mother met the cops outside the building, told them what happened and escorted them to the apartment.

Body camera footage shows the officers knocking on the door and calmly explaining to Butler, his head and face covered by a hooded sweatshirt, that they need to take him into custody.

Butler first refuses to let the cops into the apartment, wondering why the four officers are there. When Officer Brennan explains what they are doing there and ask him to put his hands behind his back, he refuses, the camera footage shows.

“You need to step out,” Butler says when asked to put his hands behind his back.

“We’re not stepping out,” Brennan tells Butler. “Listen, right now what you have is she said something happened, there was a push, and she has a headache. That’s minor, it’s a misdemeanor. That’s nothing. If you don’t cooperate and resist it becomes a whole other thing that’s on camera. That’s obvious.”

“Don’t make this hard,” Sgt. Toniann Groth adds, imploring Butler to come quietly.

When the officers reach for Butler’s hands, he backs away, claiming he has to get something. He then pulls away from the cops and starts struggling as he, Brennan and Acevedo end up in a heap on the floor.

“No! No! Don’t grab!” Butler is heard screaming before he gets ahold of Brennan’s gun.

The officers fired off seven shots at Butler during the struggle for the gun. He was shot in the stomach and the leg and taken to Kings County Hospital where he was treated. The wounded officers were treated at the same hospital.

Butler’s criminal record includes a February 2023 charge in a domestic violence incident, police said.

He spent 15 years in prison for a 2004 attempted murder charge and was wearing an ankle monitoring bracelet during the January shooting, police and sources said.

A domestic violence incident in Harlem in January 2022 took the lives of two police officers, Wilbert Mora and Jason Rivera . The suspect in that case was fatally shot by a third officer.

Mayor Adams saw echoes of Mora’s and Rivera’s deaths in the Jan. 16 shooting.

“Today we could’ve had a similar tragedy,” Adams said at a news conference following the shooting. “Because of the swift actions of the two police officers who were involved and the responding officers, those officers will be going home.”

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