Two NYC cops gunned down in Staten Island


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mjustice
March 11, 2003, 08:34 AM
From the New York Post (http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/70468.htm)


2 COPS EXECUTED ON S.I.

By MURRAY WEISS, LARRY CELONA, ED ROBINSON and BILL SANDERSON
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



March 11, 2003 -- Two undercover cops on a gun-buying sting were shot dead execution-style on Staten Island last night - and the killers fled in the officers' car, police said.
Both detectives were shot in the head at close range, said sources.

"It's an execution," said a police source. "They shot them. They ripped them out of their car, and they drove off in the car."

The car - a black Nissan Maxima - was found a few blocks away.



Mayor Bloomberg declared the double slaying "barbarism."

The slain officers "did what so many of our police officers do every day in the course of protecting eight million people - they deliberately put themselves in harm's way to protect the rest of us," the mayor said.

"All of us - everyone in New York City and everyone in America - prays for the souls of these officers."

Police last night released a picture of a Staten Island man wanted in the shooting - Omar Green, 18.

Another suspect was under arrest, and a third man was being questioned - though he denied any involvement.

The cops arranged last week to buy a .357 Magnum from Green for $1,200, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said last night.

In the minutes before the shooting, they met Green and two other men at 67 Hill St., Kelly said. The two men got in the undercovers' car, leaving Green behind.

At a traffic light on Victory Boulevard, the passengers got out briefly - forcing four undercover cars shadowing them to also stop, Kelly said.

Then the suspects got back in the car, and the officers drove along.

One source said the officers -who were wired for sound - spoke code words or made some other signal that the backup cars had been spotted, and should pull away.

The undercovers' car entered a hilly area, and the shadowing cars lost radio contact, said Kelly.

While they were out of touch, one or both of the men in the back seat shot both officers in their heads.

The suspects got out of the car, pulled the wounded officers from the front seat, jumped in and drove off.

Worried about the loss of radio contact, a police supervisor in the backup car ordered a search.

The bleeding officers were found at the corner of St. Pauls Ave. and Hannah Street in Tompkinsville.

When they were found, the slain officers still had the $1,200 cash they planned to use in their sting, said sources.

Area residents said help appeared to arrive quickly.

"I saw lights go by my house - it was an ambulance," said a 32-year-old man who asked that his name not be printed.

He headed for the scene. "I could smell gunpowder walking down the block," the man said.

Medics desperately performed CPR by hand on one of the officers in the back of an ambulance, the man said.

The officers were rushed to Staten Island's St. Vincent's Hospital, where they were declared dead.

Their car was found on Pine Street, a few blocks away, said police sources.

Bloomberg and Kelly rushed to the hospital. Police officers from around the city also converged at the hospital, where they hugged each other. Some cried.

The slain detectives, both former narcotics officers, were assigned to the department's Firearms Task Force, which is part of the Organized Crime Control Bureau.

Although police wouldn't release the men's names for fear of jeopardizing other active investigations, they did offer details about their lives.

They were police academy classmates who joined the department 71/2 years ago.

One was 34, divorced with two children. The other was 36, married with three children.

"They are two of the best cops, and they had one of the most dangerous jobs in the department," said one officer who knew both men.

"They were great guys."

Additional reporting by Philip Messing and Lorena Mongelli

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mjustice
March 11, 2003, 08:36 AM
From the NY Daily News (http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/66253p-61695c.html)

Cops slain on S.I.

2 shot dead as gun bust goes bad

By MICHELE McPHEE, ALICE McQUILLAN and DAVE GOLDINER
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS


Two undercover cops investigating illegal gun sales were shot and killed in cold blood last night inside their car on Staten Island — the first NYPD officers slain in the line of duty since the terror attacks.
"They were executed," a high-ranking police source said. "They never saw it coming."

Early this morning, Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly comforted grieving family members at St.Vincent's Medical Center on Staten Island, where the cops were pronounced dead.

"This has been a tragic night for the Police Department and our whole city," said Bloomberg. "This department and this city will not rest until those responsible for this barbaric act are found."

The cops, posing as gun buyers, were each shot once in the head by two or more gunmen sitting in the backseat of the car on a residential street in Tompkinsville about 8 p.m., Kelly said.

The cops — who had five children between them — were planning to buy a Tec-9 submachine gun for $1,200 from suspect Omar Green in a sting, sources said.

They picked up two friends of the suspect and drove off, secretly tailed by other cops in unmarked cars.

But within seconds, the backup officers lost sight of the car and lost radio contact with the cops.

They launched a frantic block-by-block search and found their colleagues' bodies on the street near St. Pauls Ave. and Hannah St. — where the two apparently had been pushed out of their black Nissan Maxima by the killers.

The detectives were still carrying the money they had planned to use in the gun buy and their service revolvers.

"We don't know what went wrong," the source said.

The Maxima was found abandoned on Coursen Place, near the Stapleton Houses, less than a mile away.

Police quickly grabbed several people — including a man suspected of being one of the shooters.

$50,000 bounty

They were looking for Green, 19. Cops put a $50,000 bounty on his head last night amid a widespread manhunt.

Sources said the cops had bought a .357 magnum from Green last week and called him yesterday to arrange the sale of the Tec-9. He asked for $1,300, but they bargained him down, the sources said.

Within minutes of the shooting, Staten Island was put into a virtual lockdown. Scores of officers rushed to the scene, and the Brooklyn-bound lanes of the Verrazano Bridge were closed.

Officers in full riot gear were going door-to-door in the Stapleton Houses, looking for suspects amid a swirl of flashing lights and a blare of sirens.

Cops even hunted for suspects on a Manhattan-bound Staten Island ferry boat that they ordered turned back to Staten Island. But they came up empty.

Kelly would not say what role any of several suspects police rounded up late last night may have had in the killings.

"We're optimistic of solving this horrendous crime," said Kelly.

The Daily News is withholding the names of the slain officers — both seven-year NYPD veterans — because they are involved in open undercover investigations.

One was 36 and had three children. He was married to another police officer, who was being comforted by top brass.

The other victim was 34, and divorced with two children. His former wife rushed to the hospital after the shootings.

The last NYPD cop shot and killed on duty was Officer Gerard Carter, who was gunned down by a teenage paroled killer outside a Staten Island housing project July 26, 1998. The last time two city cops were slain in a single incident was Nov. 13, 1989, when a murder suspect being returned to Rikers Island shot and killed Detectives Richard Guerzon and Keith Williams.

With Tamer El-Ghobashy,
Nicholas LoVecchio and Martin Mbugua

mjustice
March 11, 2003, 08:38 AM
From NY Newsday (http://www.newsday.com/news/local/newyork/nyc-copshot0310,0,744039.story?coll=ny%2Dtop%2Dspan%2Dheadlines)

Two Cops Shot and Killed In Staten Island

By Sean Gardiner
Staff Writer

March 11, 2003, 8:25 AM EST


Two city police detectives were shot and killed in Staten Island last night in an undercover gun-buy-and-bust operation gone awry, officials said.

The officers, whose names were not immediately released, worked for the Firearms Investigation Unit and were trying to buy guns near St. Paul's Avenue and Hannah Street in the Tompkinsville section, police sources said. They were shot just after 8 p.m.

The detectives, who had been driving with two associates of a gun seller, were found by their backups — lying in a street and shot in their heads — after a block-by-block search, police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Tuesday. Each was a father of multiple children and had been on the police force about seven years.

“This kind of barbarism will not be tolerated in this city,” the mayor vowed.

The officers were taken to St. Vincent's Staten Island hospital, where they were pronounced dead.

After the shooting, one of the suspects took a black Nissan Maxima the undercover detectives had been using. That car was recovered a few blocks from the shooting.

Two suspects were in custody last night, police sources said, and another remained on the loose.

Police were handing out pictures of a man identified as Omar Green last night, saying he was wanted in connection with the shooting. Green, 18, was described as 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, with a corn-row hair style.

Kelly said one of the detectives had arranged to buy a Tech-9 submachine gun from a man named Omar, who once sold him a .357 Magnum.

The detective was alone when he bought the first gun from Omar, who had an entourage. On Monday night, the detective showed up for the second buy with a partner, a move questioned by Omar, who didn’t meet them but talked with the detective on a cellular telephone, the commissioner said.

After speaking with Omar, the detective and his partner picked up two of Omar’s associates at an apartment building and drove away, secretly tailed by four backup undercover police cars, the commissioner said.

When the detectives’ car stopped suddenly, the backup officers were forced to keep driving to avoid being detected. The backups lost sight of the detectives’ car when it drove off again and lost radio contact with the detectives when they entered a hilly area, the commissioner said.

The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge was temporarily closed and cars were searched. A Staten Island Ferry that was heading to Manhattan was called back as part of the search for suspects. Hundreds of officers were brought in to aid in the search.

Bloomberg and Kelly went to St. Vincent's and met with some of the slain officers' grieving family members.

Bloomberg said he was optimistic the killings would be solved.

“You cannot commit such a barbaric crime and expect to get away with it,” he said.

He said there are 250 million guns in the United States “and they are everywhere.”

“We have done everything we can to get them off the street,” he said, “but sadly at such great cost.”

The detectives, from the police department’s organized crime gun control bureau, had been working on the gun operation for about six months. Their identities were withheld because of the nature of their jobs and the risk to other undercover officers.

The Citizens Outraged at Police Being Shot group, or COP SHOT, offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to capture and conviction in the case.

The officers are the first NYPD officers shot and killed while on duty since Gerard Carter was killed in July 1998 outside Staten Island's West Brighton Houses while trying to question a man in connection with a murder.

On Oct. 18, 1988, officers Michael Buczek, 24, and Christopher Hoban, 26, were killed within hours of each other in separate shootings in Manhattan.

The last time more than one officer was fatally shot in the same incident happened more than 31 years ago. Officers Gregory Foster and Rocco Laurie were shot and killed on Jan. 27, 1972, while on foot patrol on Avenue B and 11th Street in the East Village during an ambush by members of the Black Liberation Army.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

mjustice
March 11, 2003, 08:40 AM
From the Staten Island Advance (http://www.silive.com/newsflash/metro/index.ssf?officersshot.html)

Two undercover NYPD detectives shot dead in gun buy


By LUKAS I. ALPERT
The Associated Press
3/11/03 3:09 AM


NEW YORK (AP) -- Two undercover police detectives in an operation to get illegal guns off the streets were shot and killed after backup officers lost track of their car in an area of hills and maze-like roads in Staten Island. They were the first officers killed in the line of duty since Sept. 11.

The detectives, who had been driving with two associates of a gun seller, were found by their backups -- lying in a street and shot in their heads -- after a block-by-block search, police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Tuesday. Each was a father of multiple children and had been on the police force about seven years.

"This kind of barbarism will not be tolerated in this city," the mayor vowed.

Dozens of police officers in riot gear swarmed the area where the Monday night shooting occurred. They shut down the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, which connects Staten Island and Brooklyn, and forced a ferry bound for Staten Island to return to Manhattan while investigating the shooting.

One of the detectives had arranged to buy a Tech-9 submachine gun from a man named Omar, who once sold him a .357 Magnum, the police commissioner said.

The detective was alone when he bought the first gun from Omar, who had an entourage. On Monday night, the detective showed up for the second buy with a partner, a move questioned by Omar, who didn't meet them but talked with the detective on a cellular telephone, the commissioner said.

After speaking with Omar, the detective and his partner picked up two of Omar's associates at an apartment building and drove away, secretly tailed by four backup undercover police cars, the commissioner said.

When the detectives' car stopped suddenly, the backup officers were forced to keep driving to avoid being detected. The backups lost sight of the detectives' car when it drove off again and lost radio contact with the detectives when they entered a hilly area, the commissioner said.

The detectives, who were armed, were found around 8 p.m. near Hannah Street and St. Paul Avenue, in the Tompkinsville section. They apparently had not fired a shot.

Police said Omar Green, 19, was wanted for questioning. The police commissioner said some other people were being questioned.

Bloomberg said he was optimistic the killings would be solved.

"You cannot commit such a barbaric crime and expect to get away with it," he said.

He said there are 250 million guns in the United States "and they are everywhere."

"We have done everything we can to get them off the street," he said, "but sadly at such great cost."

The detectives, from the police department's organized crime gun control bureau, had been working on the gun operation for about six months. Their identities were withheld because of the nature of their jobs and the risk to other undercover officers.

The Citizens Outraged at Police Being Shot group, or COP SHOT, offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to capture and conviction in the case.

Twenty-three city police officers were killed in the World Trade Center attack on Sept. 11, 2001.



Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

mjustice
March 11, 2003, 08:43 AM
From the New York Times (registration required) (http://www.nytimes.com/2003/03/11/nyregion/11COP.html)

Two Detectives Are Shot Dead in Staten Island
By TINA KELLEY


Two police detectives were shot to death last night during an undercover gun investigation in Staten Island, a senior police official said last night.

The shootings, which occurred about 8 p.m. at Hannah Street and Saint Pauls Avenue in Tompkinsville, set off an intense manhunt as dozens of police officers swarmed the scene, blocked off roads nearby, and searched vehicles leaving Richmond County.

At 11 p.m., the police said they were questioning two people in connection with the shootings and looking for a third, Omar Green, 18.

The killings represented the first time in more than 13 years that two New York City police officers had been fatally shot on the same day while on duty.

Law enforcement officials, providing a preliminary account of the killings, said that the detectives had arranged to meet the suspects in Staten Island to make an undercover gun purchase.

The detectives were driving a leased black Maxima as they went to buy a new Tec-9, a high-powered semiautomatic pistol favored by drug dealers, for $1,200, a senior police official said. They spoke by cellphone to a man named Omar to arrange the deal, then met two other men outside 67 Hill Street, the official said. Those two men got into the car and began telling the detectives where to drive to conclude the deal.

As the car drove through the streets of the Stapleton neighborhood, a backup team followed the undercover detectives, and apparently lost sight of the Maxima. The backup team searched frantically for the car, street by street.

Meanwhile, the men in the car apparently shot both investigators in the head and pushed them out of the car, the senior official said. The detectives still had the money to buy the gun, and their own guns were still in their holsters, suggesting they never had a chance to react, the senior official said. At least one of the detectives was shot in the back of the head, the official said.

One witness told the police he saw the detectives' bodies being dragged out of the car, the official said.

Investigators this morning were questioning two men, one in a bloody shirt, and were seeking Mr. Green, whom they believe to be the man the detectives talked to about buying the pistol, the official said. It was unclear whether Mr. Green was present at the time of the shooting.

The killers drove the car a short distance and abandoned it, the senior official said. The backup team found the two detectives lying in the street. They were taken to St. Vincent's Staten Island Hospital and pronounced dead.

Police Chief Raymond W. Kelly and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg rushed to the hospital after the shootings, as did the detectives' families. One, 34, is divorced with two children. The other, 36, is married and has three children. The police did not release their names early this morning, but said both had been on the force seven and a half years.

Last night, Bill Haun, who lives on Hannah Street near where the shootings took place, said officers were standing about 30 feet from his door.

"When I looked out the door, they were performing CPR on someone who looked like a police officer, in the back of an ambulance," he said.

Mr. Haun said that the police had closed off Hannah Street, and that there was at least one police helicopter overhead. Mr. Haun described the neighborhood of mostly private homes as fairly rough. "It probably has one of the more high crime rates in Staten Island," he said.

Two of the six eastbound lanes of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge were closed while the police searched vehicles trying to leave Staten Island, said Frank Pascual, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

The police were also searching vehicles leaving on the Goethals and Bayonne Bridges and the Outerbridge Crossing, said Sgt. Richard Munnelly of the Port Authority.

The 9 p.m. Staten Island ferry to Manhattan was turned back just short of Battery Park because the police thought a suspect in the killings or a witness might be on board.

People were let off the ferry two at a time once it returned to Staten Island, said Mary Ellen Carney, 19, who was on the ferry. She said officers were looking for a 6-foot-2 black man.

The police searched a nearby public housing project in the Stapleton section for suspects last night.

One tenant at the 8-story building, at 67 Warren Street, said the police had announced over a megaphone that no one was to enter or leave the building. The tenant, who asked that her name not be used, said her 13-year-old sister and 16-year-old brother were both barred from returning to their apartment and had called up to the window to say they would be at a friend's house.

"I'm kind of nervous now," the woman said. "I didn't hear anything or see anything but the police are being real serious about this — there are lights flashing all over."

Another tenant, William Logan, 16, said the police had just been to his 4th-floor apartment to ask if anyone inside had any information about the shootings. Mr. Logan, who lives with his mother, sister, brother and nephew, said they had told police they knew nothing. "They just told us two cops got shot at St. Pauls," he said. "I don't even know where that is."

The rest of nearly 30 tenants called last night said they had no knowledge of either the shootings or police activity in their building.

"Well, I'm certainly not going out now," one resident said.

A $20,000 cash reward for information leading to convictions in the case was offered by COP SHOT, a group of businesses.

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