Cops: Standoff suspect released; not involved in burglary
Nassau police surrounded an East Massapequa home early Friday and brought in a negotiator with a bullhorn in hopes of convincing a suspected burglar holed up inside to surrender.
After a half-hour of negotiations, he did -- but he was the wrong man.
The arrest and subsequent release of the man followed a pre-dawn, hours-long hunt for a suspect who avoided capture after an officer fired at him and missed, police said.
Insp. Kenneth Lack, a police spokesman, said there was probable cause to arrest the man in the East Hamilton Avenue house because he fit the suspect's description.
"We quickly discovered it's not the [right] individual, and he was quickly released," Lack said.
The man, whose name was not released, initially refused to surrender. Authorities thought he had barricaded himself inside and were concerned about possible hostages.
Police had been led to the address by a 911 call about a suspicious person entering the house, authorities said.
Officers with rifles and police dogs swooped in about 8 a.m., and streets were closed off as a helicopter hovered overhead.
Residents getting ready for work described a chaotic scene.
Anne Marie Bryant, 65, of nearby Carman Boulevard, said an officer yelled "Get back in the house!" when she tried to step outside at about 9 a.m.
The drama had started hours earlier, at 4:15 a.m., when someone reported seeing a man in his 20s and red shorts trying to break into a house or car on Unqua Road in East Massapequa, police said.
A short time later, a Seventh Precinct officer spotted a bicyclist who fit the suspect's description on Sunrise Highway, near Old Sunrise Highway. Ordered to lie on the ground, the bicyclist only partially complied, police said.
"He's got one hand in the air, one hand in his pocket," Lack said.
Lack said the officer heard a metallic clanking sound and thought it may have been a gun, but couldn't tell for sure in the dim light.
"The officer, fearing the subject was reaching for a gun, fired one round at the subject," the inspector said.
The shot missed, and the suspect fled to a wooded area, triggering the manhunt.
As police descended on East Hamilton, resident Lisa Farco called what followed "kind of crazy" and out of character for "a very quiet neighborhood."
After the wrong man was arrested, Lack told reporters he had "some relation" to the occupants of the home. Residents of the home could not be reached for comment.
Police were still searching Friday night for the real suspect.
With John Valenti, Scott Eidler and Mackenzie Issler