Two NYPD cops opened fire at a deranged man a block from Times Square — as he pretended to point a gun at them — but instead struck a pair of innocent bystanders Saturday night, police said.
The 35-year-old man was behaving wildly in the middle of W. 42nd St. at Eighth Ave. about 9:36 p.m. when he was confronted by the officers, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.
As officers tried to corral the hulking wacko, he suddenly “reached into his pocket, took out his hand, and simulated as if he was shooting at them,” Kelly said.
One officer fired a single shot at the man but missed.
The second officer squeezed off two rounds that also went wayward, Kelly said.
A 54-year-old woman who uses a walker was struck in the lower right leg and rushed to Bellevue Hospital.
A 35-year-old woman suffered a graze wound to the buttocks and was transported to Roosevelt Hospital.
The man, who was not identified, was arrested. He was unarmed when he was taken into custody.
“The only thing the individual had on his person was a wallet which was recovered from his right rear pocket,” Kelly said.
Witness Mike Favilla told The News cops opened fire after the man put his hand into his pocket, pulled out a MetroCard and pointed it at the officers like it was gun.
“He aimed it at the cop,” said Favilla, 33, of Elmhurst, Queens. “He was pretending like he had a gun.”
You have to make split second life-and-death decisions in these cases and, if you make the wrong decision, someone may get seriously hurt or die.
That someone can be the police officer if he or she is not careful.
So I understand why a suspect putting his hands into his pockets and pulling them out again simulating like he's got a gun can make them trigger-happy.
That said, the NYPD under Bloomberg have a reputation for being trigger happy - whether it was in the Empire State Building shootings or the Ramarley Graham incident (where they shot and killed the kid while he was flushing dope down the toilet), or the Kimani Gray incident (shot teen seven times for having a gun that was never found) or the incident in Times Square a year ago where they shot and killed a knife-wielding emotionally disturbed man in Times Square.
The police in this city seem to think they can fire with impunity and worry about the circumstances later.
The papers were all over the tragedy of a one year shot and killed by someone who was aiming at someone else last week.
Will they be all over the NYPD for shooting innocent bystanders when a man pointed a Metrocard at them?
And when do police officers get held accountable for this stuff?
The cop who shot and killed Ramarley Graham, for example, is getting off scott free.
Thankfully nobody was killed in last night's shootings, or at the Empire State Building, or on 40th Street when the cops shot the knife wielder they had corralled.
But Ramarley Graham is dead.
So is Kimani Gray.
The cops in the Gray case had a documented record of civil rights violations them:
The NYPD sergeant and cop involved in the fatal shooting of Brooklyn 16-year-old Kimani Gray have been named in five federal lawsuits — which cost the city a total of $215,000 in settlements, court records show.
Sgt. Mourad Mourad racked up three suits while he was a plainclothes cop on Staten Island, and Officer Jovaniel Cordova racked up two at Brooklyn’s 70th Precinct — all alleging various civil rights violations including illegal stop and search and false arrest.
Prosecutors later dismissed all but one of the arrests against the six plaintiffs, and the criminal cases were sealed.