Police Officers Answering a Burglary Call Kill 78-Year-Old Resident

A 78-year-old Brooklyn man was shot and killed by police officers who responded to a call about a possible burglary at his apartment, New York Police Department officials said on Thursday.

The man, whose name had not been released Thursday evening, had pointed a gun at two officers, Jeffrey Maddrey, the chief of department, told reporters. They shot him several times inside his building in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, Chief Maddrey said.

The encounter on Thursday, which took less than two minutes from the time the officers arrived, occurred after the man’s nephew called 911 and said he believed a person was breaking into his uncle’s home, Chief Maddrey said.

When the officers, in uniform, arrived at the building on Lewis Avenue near Hancock Street, they climbed one flight of stairs and walked into a narrow hallway, their body camera footage showed, Chief Maddrey said.

The officers knocked, the man partially opened the door, turned his body to the side, and began to raise his left arm. That’s when the officers saw a gun in the man’s hand, Chief Maddrey said.

“They started yelling ‘No!’ They start retreating,” he said. The man “raises the firearm up and actually steps out of the apartment with the firearm pointed at the officers.”

The officers unholstered their guns and shot. The man was hit several times in the body, Chief Maddrey said.

Police departments in America have come under increased scrutiny over excessive use of force, and officers are almost never charged in shooting deaths.

In New York, fatal shootings involving the police are rare compared with the total number of gun deaths. Last year, 13 people died by police gunfire, according to Mapping Police Violence, a national database that tracks official use of force. In 2021, seven people were shot and killed by Police Department officers.

Most of those who were killed in 2021 and 2022 shot at officers first, according to Police Department reports.

In Thursday’s incident, Chief Maddrey said that camera footage shows that “he clearly charged at the officers with his gun. We don’t know why, though.”

The officers, with no place to retreat, fell backward in the tight hallway, Chief Maddrey said. They performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation until emergency service workers arrived, but the man was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Officials said he had “no prior interactions” with the police.

The officers were treated for tinnitus and injuries from their fall. A gun was recovered at the scene, Chief Maddrey said.

It does not appear that there was a burglary at the apartment, but the incident was still under investigation, he said.

“This is a tragic situation,” Chief Maddrey said.

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