A New York City police detective fatally shot a suspected robber in Manhattan on Saturday after he allegedly hit the detective in the head with a police radio as he was being arrested, New York Police Department Chief James P. O’Neill told The New York Times.
Police said an unidentified 24-year-old male suspect was taken to Mount Sinai Beth Israel hospital in serious condition but later died, The New York Times reported. The man had been wanted in connection with a robbery that occurred Thursday, according to NBC New York. Officials said the man had several prior arrests, including one for assault, according to the Times.
Police said the shooting took place just before 2 p.m. EDT at 538 E. Sixth St. in Manhattan’s East Village. Officers saw a man jump out of a sixth-floor window and flee down the fire escape as they approached an apartment building where the suspect was believed to be, WABC said.
The detectives pursued the suspect and after what police described as a "violent physical struggle" in which he allegedly struck the officer with a police radio, the detective opened fire. The suspect was hit once in the torso, the New York Daily News reported.
"A violent physical struggle ensued, during which the suspect grabbed one of the police officer’s walkie-talkies and struck the detective in the head," the police chief told the Times. The other officer sustained a head injury during the scuffle, according to the New York Daily News.
When asked if the suspect had a gun, an NYPD spokeswoman told the Guardian no, but that police considered the radio used to hit the officer a weapon.
A local resident said the building has served as a halfway house. "That’s a halfway house for mentally ill people readjusting to society," Brian Keller, 45, told the New York Daily News. "It’s been there for 20, 25 years. They treat all kinds of things, including drugs. I’ve never felt scared before. But there’s been some tension."
The two unidentified detectives who were injured were taken to the hospital to receive treatment for head injuries. No further information was available about their condition. The Times reported that the officers were not in uniform. Both had served over 20 years in the department.
Saturday’s fatal police shooting was the second in New York City in three days, and occurred on the same day that protesters clashed with Baltimore police over the death of Freddie Gray, who died after suffering an injury while in police custody. The deaths come amid heightened concern over police officers' use of force, and the interactions between law enforcement and minorities.