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Officials: Suspect shot by Hempstead Village officer after aiming car at cop

Investigators at the crime scene in Valley Stream

Investigators at the crime scene in Valley Stream Tuesday after a suspect driving a BMW was shot in the shoulder when he drove the car at a Hempstead Village police officer, officials said Wednesday. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

A Hempstead Village police officer shot a Uniondale man in the shoulder as he sped his BMW in reverse toward the officer during a pursuit with law enforcement Tuesday afternoon, officials said.

The chase, which began in Hempstead and ended in Valley Stream, also left a Nassau Bureau of Special Operations officer with a broken hand, said Det. Lt. Stephen Fitzpatrick of the Nassau Police Department’s Homicide Squad during a news conference Wednesday in Mineola.

Kashawn Watts-Bryant, 34, of Henry Street, crashed into three vehicles as he sped through stop signs and drove “recklessly” around other motorists while attempting to elude law enforcement, Fitzpatrick said. The suspect was also seen disposing of a bag of oxycodone pills before officers apprehended him, authorities said.

Watts-Bryant, who has a lengthy criminal record and served time in prison, was arraigned Wednesday afternoon at Winthrop Hospital on charges of second-degree assault, criminal possession of a controlled substance and multiple traffic infractions.

Nassau County District Court Judge Joy Watson ordered Watts-Bryant, who is in stable condition recovering from the gunshot wound, remanded without bail. He is due back in court Friday.

Watts-Bryant was represented at his arraignment by the Legal Aid Society of Nassau County, which did not respond to a request for comment.

Two other passengers in the BMW, who fled from police but were later apprehended, will not face charges, Fitzpatrick said.

The chase followed an investigation at about 2 p.m. Tuesday by two undercover Hempstead Village police officers patrolling near Sycamore Avenue in Hempstead, Fitzpatrick said. The officers were looking for a different vehicle that had fled the scene of an earlier accident and spotted a white BMW with no front license plates and tinted windows, he said.

When the officers attempted to pull the vehicle over, the sedan sped from the scene, driving through multiple stop signs, Fitzpatrick said.

The BMW, followed by a Hempstead Village police vehicle with its lights and sirens on, then drove onto the westbound Southern State Parkway before exiting at Corona Avenue in Valley Stream, authorities said. The BMW then turned east onto Blakeman Drive where it crashed and became wedged between three vehicles, Fitzpatrick said.

A passenger in the rear right side of the car fled and was apprehended a short time later by one of the pursuing officers, police said.

The other Hempstead officer ordered Watts-Bryant to turn off the engine and get out the vehicle but he refused, Fitzpatrick said. The suspect then drove the BMW in reverse toward the officer, who discharged his weapon one time, with the bullet going through the back windshield and hitting Watts-Bryant in his right upper shoulder, he said.

Watts-Bryant, who was unarmed, drove off and headed east before crashing into a street sign on Primrose Place in Valley Stream. Watts-Bryant and another occupant of the vehicle then took off on foot.

The suspect was eventually located in a rear yard on Evergreen Avenue in West Hempstead but resisted arrest, fracturing the right hand of a responding Nassau special operations officer, according to charging documents. The officer was treated and released from Nassau University Medical Center.

Nassau detectives have interviewed the Hempstead Village police officers involved in the shooting, Fitzpatrick said. He declined to comment on whether the shooting of Watts-Bryant was justified.

“We investigate all police-involved shootings,” Fitzpatrick said. “So we have interviewed the officers but won’t disclose what they said yet … The case is still ongoing and the investigation continues. We are not at any conclusions at this point.”

Hempstead Village Mayor Don Ryan said the officer involved in the shooting has been placed on administrative leave, pursuant to department policy. In three days, the officer will report to work on administrative duty, pending the Nassau police investigation and an administrative review by the Hempstead Police Department, Ryan said.

“Village of Hempstead Police Officers place the highest emphasis on following the patrol policy manual and the Department is working in partnership with NCPD throughout this investigation,” Ryan said in a statement.

Authorities also recovered a bag containing nearly 300 pills believed to be oxycodone, according to the criminal complaint.

Watts-Bryant’s criminal record dates back to 2003 and includes time in prison for robbery, attempted criminal possession of a weapon and attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance, records show.

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