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Cops: Man shot by Suffolk police after barricading in Middle Island home

Suffolk police tactical officers at the scene Wednesday

Suffolk police tactical officers at the scene Wednesday on Bailey Road in Middle Island where a man was shot and wounded by police after he pointed a rifle at them, officials said. Credit: Stringer News Service

An hourslong standoff with a man in Middle Island ended Wednesday afternoon when Suffolk police shot him after he exited a home and pointed a rifle at officers, officials said.

Officers responded to a home on Bailey Road after a 2:20 p.m. 911 call reporting an occupant was intoxicated and “homicidal and suicidal and in possession of a rifle,” said Suffolk police Det. Lt. Kevin Beyrer, commanding officer of the Homicide Squad.

Members of the Hostage Negotiating Team, along with officers from the Emergency Service Unit, established and maintained a dialogue with the man who had barricaded himself inside the residence, Beyrer said.

After about 2 1/2 hours, Christopher Malerba, 49, a resident of the home, “came out with a rifle in his hand, pointed it at emergency service officers, who fired at him,” Beyrer said.

Malerba was struck on one of his hands, Beyrer said. Malerba then went back into the home and came out a short time later unarmed before being taken into custody, Beyrer said.

Malerba was transported to Stony Brook University Hospital, where he will undergo psychological testing, Beyrer said. He was in stable condition Thursday morning. 

 After an investigation, Homicide Squad detectives charged Malerba with menacing a police officer, which is a felony. He will be arraigned at a later date, police said Thursday.

Police did not disclose how many shots were fired in the incident, or how many officers fired weapons. There were no other injuries, police said. 

Police are asking anyone with information about the incident to call Homicide Squad detectives at 631-852-6392. 

In a similar incident in January 2019, Suffolk police fatally shot a Greenport man who they said was suicidal after he fired about 10 shots before and during a three-hour standoff with officers.

Robert Myers, 63, fired about three shots before Suffolk police arrived at his Greenport apartment, then about seven more when the department’s Hostage Negotiation Team was on the scene, police said. Most of the shots were fired at police, though some occurred inside his Middle Country Road apartment, officials said at the time.

In December 2019, Suffolk police fatally shot a Brentwood man who officers said drew a loaded semiautomatic handgun at police during a late-night chase in the hamlet. Police identified the suspect as Emanuel Johnson III, 21, a member of the Bloods gang with 14 prior arrests.

After the shooting of Johnson, Suffolk Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart was asked during a news conference if the suspect intended to shoot at officers.

“It appears that way,” she said. “Our officers have been trained to handle various situations. But in this case, a suspect pointed a gun at our officers and their lives were in danger."

With John Valenti

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