Man shot dead by police in Brownsville after confrontation inside nail salon

October 25, 2019 Noah Goldberg
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Updated Oct. 26 at 1:22 p.m.

A man was shot and killed by an NYPD officer after a dispute inside a crowded nail salon turned violent, according to police.

A man entered Goldmine Nail Salon on Mother Gaston Boulevard near Sutter Avenue around 5:40 p.m., trying to use the bathroom, according to police. The man did not get into the bathroom, though it’s not clear if the salon workers did not allow him to. The man then began to urinate on the floor of the salon, cops said.

Employees of the salon asked two uniformed officers, who were on patrol, to remove the man, according to police.

When they realized he had an open warrant, police began to arrest the man, but he resisted arrest, they said.

That’s when Kwesi Ashun, who was selling T-shirts outside the salon, got into the fray, beginning a “violent struggle” with the responding officers, according to NYPD. Police attempted to Tase Ashun, but said it was ineffective.

Ashun then struck one of the officers in the head with a metal chair, police said.

“This officer discharged his firearm six times at the subject. The perpetrator was pronounced deceased at the location by EMS,” said Chief of Patrol Rodney Harrison at a press conference Friday night.

Police on the scene of the shooting in Brownsville. Eagle photo by Lloyd Mitchell

The officer struck in the head is in a medically induced coma at Brookdale Hospital, police said. The officer’s partner was also taken in for treatment, though he was not injured, police said.

The man who initially urinated in the salon was arrested.

An NYPD bus and six NYPD strategic response group vehicles and four helicopters were on the scene shortly after the shooting, according to a council staffer.

“This is a very serious situation but the one thing that we know from the information we have so far is this civilian assaulted a police officer and that is not acceptable,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio Saturday at an unrelated press conference. “I just need to put that front and center. That is not acceptable. We do not allow assaults on our police officers.”

A masked man was killed by cops during a shootout in Brownsville just last month. Another man was killed by cops in Gowanus after he allegedly shot at another man on Oct. 15.

Ashun, 33, was the fourth civilian shot and killed by police in the last 10 days in New York City. Staffers for the local councilmember, Alicka Ampry-Samuel, told the Eagle he had a history of mental health issues. He was arrested in 2004 after slashing an officers face and injuring another, according to the New York TimesOfficers in that instance subdued Ashun with pepper spray.

“Kwesi struggled with mental health issues. That’s not a secret. He was bipolar. But he was a community man and people knew him,” said Camara Jackson, who runs Elite Learners Inc., a Brownsville anti-gun violence and mentoring organization. Jackson responded to the scene Friday and has spent time with the Ashun’s “devastated” family.

She also reviewed video footage of the incident obtained from outside the nail salon.

“You can see that there is an NYPD officer who goes in and then there’s an officer on the outside the majority of the time. You can’t really tell anything happening inside, but you can see the shots fired as the glass breaks of the nail salon,” she said.

The man urinating inside the salon was Ashun’s godson, Jackson said. “It wasn’t a stranger. It was someone who was a family friend.

“There’s a lot of unanswered questions that the community has. We only obtained the footage from the outside of the establishment and we are hoping to get footage from someone inside to give us a clear definitive answer of what happened inside,” Jackson said.

This is a breaking story. Check back for updates. 

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