Police Shooting in Washington Heights
HOST INTRO: Yesterday, a suspect was shot and killed by police during a shoot-out in Washington Heights. When a shooting occurs, there are impacts throughout the neighborhood. Reporters Cynthia Betubiza and Maggie Green were on the scene to document its ripple effect.
BETUBIZA: Helicopters hovered above the scene at Broadway and 187th Street. Yellow police tape cordoned off the intersection, stopping traffic and forcing commuters to take detours.
QUOTE: They made us get off the bus because the bus was going no further. I’m just trying to get home, which is past here.
BETUBIZA: Here’s what happened:
At around 4:30 yesterday afternoon, police responded to a 911 call.
According to the caller, a man had a gun.
Officers spotted him and chased into a parking lot. The suspect fired at police and police shot back.
QUOTE: There was a gun fight inside that parking lot over there…it was like “boom”—shots. And I started looking out the window and I was like, “Oh my god, what’s going on here?”
BETUBIZA: That was Nechemiah Kulgmann. He watched the shooting happen from his window across the street.
QUOTE: And before I know it, there’s like 40 cops storming the building running into the parking lot there.
BETUBIZA: One officer was shot in the armpit and was released from the hospital today. The suspect was shot in the chest and died.
At a press conference last night, the NYPD broke down video of the incident.
NYPD: In time as this investigation goes forward, you will see a video where we see a police officer [get] shot and by the dozens, fellow police officers continue to run into that parking lot with rounds whizzing past their head. No concern for their own danger, their own safety, they ran anyway. So when we say we run towards danger, realize, we really do.
BETUBIZA: When a shooting happens, it affects an entire neighborhood.
About an hour after the shooting, residents were still gathered at the scene. Some talking on their phones, reporting back what they heard, what they saw, and what they thought happened.
Rolando Colombani was nearby when the shooting happened.
QUOTE: And my mother and I were walking and they stopped us from going there. And all you saw were a bunch of cops going all around to find out what happened over there.
BETUBIZA: Lady Tejada was leading an afterschool program across the street in an elementary school when the shots were fired.
QUOTE: We had to do a shelter-in….it’s when they don’t allow any person [from] coming into the building or outside of the building.
BETUBIZA: Eliana Cuevas is a student at the school. She heard the shots.
QUOTE: So…they put all of us inside the school so that we could be safe. But i know that something was happening around here. So I heard the shooting.
BETUBIZA: A shooting sets off a specific chain of events according to the official NYPD handbook on crime scenes . First, a physical barrier is created – usually – that’s the yellow police tape you often see.
Police create only one entrance. That way, each person who comes in and each one who leaves, is registered in a log.
They do this because they don’t want to contaminate evidence.
And the neighborhood gets put on high alert.
QUOTE: I was up in my apartment and I have an application called Citizen App. Basically, I got an alert saying there was a guy with a gun. Not two minutes alter, I heard about five gunshots go off.
BETUBIZA: Police say they are continuing to investigate. They plan to look at all of the body cam and security footage from the scene.
From Columbia Radio News, Cynthia Betubiza
Bianca Giacobone contributed to this report.