NYPD investigators puzzled over why a Brooklyn teenager with no significant criminal history decided Thursday afternoon to fire on officers, who responded with deadly force, a high-ranked police official said Friday.

Killed in a wild exchange of gunfire was Kadeem Torres, 17, of Willoughby Avenue in the East New York section, an NYPD spokesman said Friday. Torres was shot dead by anti-crime unit officers after he fired at the officers as he ran and tried to elude them, Chief of Patrol Terence Monahan said at a news conference Thursday evening.

Cops were in the area of the Cypress Houses after receiving information that there may be retaliation among gangs for an earlier shooting, the official said. Two factions in the Crips gang — the front side and the back side — have been responsible for a number of shootings in the public housing area and Torres may have had some affiliation with one of the gangs, the officials said.

A woman answering the telephone at the Willoughby Street address for the Torres family Friday said no one was available for comment.

“Word was out on the street that they were going to retaliate for the shooting,” the official said.

Torres had just run out of housing area when he stopped and looked at anti-crime unit cops in a patrol car. The officers started driving toward Torres and after a couple of blocks a sergeant and another officer got out of the car to approach him. It was then that Torres drew a .32 caliber revolver and fired at the cops, who returned fire at the fleeing teen, Monahan said.

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Torres ran two blocks into a rear yard at 840 Belmont Ave. where an officer fired at the still armed youth, Monahan said. Torres was pronounced dead at the scene and the gun was recovered by officers, Monahan said.

Retired NYPD detective and author Joseph Giacalone said Torres might have acted the way he did because of area gang influence and its macho mentality.

“It is not like he did not know, these guys were in uniform,” Giacalone said. “It is a very strange set of circumstances.”