NEW YORK - An armed ex-con with a record for attempted robbery was shot dead by police early Thursday in the Bronx after he pointed a loaded gun at police during a scuffle with officers in a building lobby, officials said.
James Torres, 44, died of his wounds at St. Barnabas Hospital at around 4:40 a.m. after he was shot twice by one of a group of police officers who pursued him into 1985 Davidson Ave. in Morris Heights, police said.
Torres was followed into the building after he had been identified to police by a robbery victim as the man who accosted him at a nearby JPMorgan Chase ATM and took his iPhone and some cash, said NYPD spokesman John McCarthy.
Once he forced himself inside the lobby of the Davidson Avenue building, Torres, holding a loaded Lorcin .380 caliber handgun, tried to point it at one officer he was struggling with, said McCarthy. The officer had grabbed Torres' right arm and was attempting to prevent him from pointing the gun at the officer's head, according to McCarthy.
At that point, a second officer who was pursuing Torres fired three times, striking Torres in the chest twice, according to police.
A short time earlier, at about 4:04 a.m., the robbery victim had flagged down a passing police car to report the ATM robbery and drove a short distance with the officers when they spotted Torres, according to investigators. After one of the officers in the car exited the vehicle, Torres pointed his gun at the police, but didn't fire, said McCarthy. Torres then fled into the nearby building lobby.
Torres had been under investigation in at least three other robberies in the area, including one on Christmas Eve day, officials said. According to police, Torres had a total of four smartphones on him when he died.
Torres was sentenced in 2009 to a term of 2-to-4 years in state prison for attempted robbery. After getting out of prison in September 2011, Torres was arrested again in July 2012 for violating his parole and reincarcerated for seven months before being released in January 2013, said police.
A total of four officers were also treated and released at St. Barnabas, according to McCarthy.