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AG to investigate after elderly man gunned down by NYPD amid burglary hunt

April 17, 2023 Robert Abruzzese
Attorney General Letitia James, along with a coalition of five other state attorneys general.Photo: Rob Abruzzese/Brooklyn Eagle
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BROOKLYN — A 78-year-old man was tragically shot and killed by NYPD officers as they pursued a suspected burglar in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Officers were responding to a reported burglary on Lewis Avenue when they knocked on the elderly man’s apartment door, mistaking it for the suspect’s location.

The incident occurred just after 1 p.m. on Thursday when police received a call about a possible burglary. The caller reported that his elderly uncle believed someone was breaking into his apartment. Two officers from the 81st Precinct arrived at the scene and went up to the second floor, where they encountered the man partially opening his apartment door with a gun in his left hand.

According to NYPD Chief Jeffrey Maddrey, the man charged at the officers with his gun and pointed it at them, prompting both officers to open fire. The elderly man, who was not a robbery suspect but the resident of the home, was critically injured and later pronounced dead at Woodhull Hospital. The officers were checked out for tinnitus but were not otherwise injured.

Authorities are still trying to determine why the man pointed his gun at the responding officers. Chief Maddrey stated, “I can tell I observed the body camera, he clearly charged at the officers with his gun, we do not know why though, when they initially got to the apartment, they did not have their guns drawn.”

The man had no prior interactions with the police, and a firearm was recovered at the scene.This incident marked the first of several shootings involving NYPD officers on Thursday. Later in the day, police shot a man in Queens after he allegedly stabbed a security guard. Another officer-involved shooting occurred in the Bronx that evening.

The Attorney General’s Office of Special Investigation (OSI) has since opened a probe into the Brooklyn incident, pursuant to New York State Executive Law Section 70-b. The law mandates that OSI assess any situation in which a police or peace officer may have caused a person’s death, whether on-duty or off-duty, and regardless of the deceased’s armed status or custody situation. Should OSI determine that an officer caused the death, a full investigation will be launched.

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