A Bronx man awaiting trial at Rikers Island for an attempted police shooting stored a weapons cache -- including rifles, handguns and about 5,000 rounds of ammunition -- in the basement of a six-family home in Yonkers, prompting an evacuation of the neighborhood when it was discovered, law enforcement officials said Thursday.
Police early Thursday removed the weapons, which included high-capacity magazines and "military-type smoke canisters," according to a Yonkers police news release. Also found in the locker: New York Police Department badges and identification cards.
A law enforcement official familiar with the case identified the man who rented the storage space as Antonio Olmeda, 53, who is awaiting trial after allegedly shooting at two police officers in Queens in December 2011. In that incident, a passerby approached the two patrol officers and told them about Olmeda, who was wearing a trenchcoat, fedora, eyeglasses and a fake beard, Queens prosecutors said. When cops asked Olmeda to take his hands out of his pockets and tried to restrain him, Olmeda allegedly pulled out a revolver and fired two shots at the officers.
Olmeda was charged with attempted murder. There was no immediate word whether he will face new charges connected with the Yonkers weapons cache.
Olmeda had a previous felony conviction for weapons possession after officers found swords, machetes, a gas mask, pipe bombs, handcuffs and a flamethrower inside a van he owned, prosecutors said. Because of that conviction, his DNA was on file. When he ran from cops after the December 2011 incident, security camera footage caught him "in a trenchcoat running down the street while removing items from his face and throwing those items on the ground," according to the Queens District Attorney.
Investigators sent the glasses to New York City's crime lab for DNA testing; the DNA sample matched the sample Olmeda was forced to submit after his previous felony conviction, prosecutors said. Cops picked him up about three weeks later while he was sitting in a car in Manhattan with a .38 caliber revolver and ammo in the car.
The weapons cache found Wednesday at 22 Alder St. in Yonkers was kept in a storage closet Olmeda had been renting since 2010, police said. The cache apparently was uncovered when Olmeda, who was in jail, fell behind in his rent and the landlord opened the storage locker to dispose of the items, officials said.
The landlord, whose name was not released, called police when he found the weapons, and 15 Yonkers families from the Alder Street house and other buildings nearby were evacuated Wednesday as police set up a 300-foot perimeter.
"I don't really have any information of value for you because, other than what I've heard from reporters, I know nothing about it," Olmeda's lawyer, Garnett Sullivan, said Thursday. "I haven't spoken to my client. I expect to meet with my client tomorrow."
Yonkers police said no one had been charged because they had not established who owned the guns.
"It could be the person that rented the space. It could be someone else who's responsible," said Det. Lt. Patrick McCormack. "We're still investigating."
Residents were allowed to return to their homes early Thursday morning.
Yonkers police would not release more information on the case. The NYPD did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
With The Associated Press