Police officers in the Bronx killed a man they said had fired at them with an air pistol on Friday night, the second such fatal encounter in the borough in four days.
The confrontation that led to the shooting occurred at about 7 pm near the intersection of Seneca and Hunts Point avenues in the Hunts Point section of the South Bronx, officials said.
Plainclothes narcotics detectives working in the area said they had overheard a dispute in which a man said he was going to his car to retrieve a gun, according to an account given by Assistant Chief Philip Rivera in a news conference about 10 p.m.
The man returned in a pickup and stepped out at the corner of the avenues as a detective approached him wearing a vest emblazoned with the word “police,” the officer said. Another detective shouted, “Police – Do not move,” according to Assistant Chief Rivera’s account of the incident.
The man fired what Assistant Chief Rivera said was a so-called airsoft pistol, just missing a detective’s head from a range of about 15 feet. The weapon “looks like a semiautomatic firearm,” he said.
Police officers fired 10 shots at the man, striking him five times. He died at Lincoln Medical Center, Assistant Chief Rivera said. Officials did not identify the man, but cited a history of felony arrests.
The police did not say whether video of the shooting had been recorded. They released a photograph of the air gun.
Neither of the two officers involved in the shooting were hit, officials said. They were taken to Jacobi Medical Center to be treated for ringing in the ears, where Mayor Eric Adams visited them, according to a City Hall spokesman.
The shooting Friday came after officers fatally shot a 25-year-old man in the Claremont section of the Bronx on Tuesday. Officials said the man had fired twice as officers chased him, hitting one in the arm. The wounded officer left the hospital several hours later.
The officer injured in that shooting, which is being investigated by the Police Department’s Force Investigation Division and the state attorney general’s office, was just the latest to be wounded by gunfire this year.
In the most serious such incident, two police officers were killed in January after being shot in a Harlem apartment while responding to a call about a mother and son fighting.
Earlier that month, an officer was hospitalized after being shot while sleeping in a car outside an East Harlem station house, and another officer was struck by a bullet during a confrontation with a teenage suspect in the Bronx.
The shootings of officers and others are among the high-profile examples of a spike in gun violence that arrived with the pandemic, has persisted throughout it and remains at the top of Mr. Adams’s agenda for improving public safety.
The surge, part of a broader national trend, has been most acute in neighborhoods like the South Bronx that are home to many poor and working-class Black and Hispanic residents and have long been plagued by shootings.
The shooting deaths of the officers in January prompted Mr. Adams to act on a prominent campaign promise by introducing a revamped version of a specialized police unit focused on getting guns off the streets.
The new incarnation of the unit – which had been disbanded in 2020 in an acknowledgment by police officials that it had sowed tension between officers and the people they serve – began operating last month. Critics have raised doubts about whether the new unit is an improvement over its predecessor.