Police close off all northbound lanes of the Robert Moses...

Police close off all northbound lanes of the Robert Moses Causeway after a state trooper shot and killed a man on the bridge about 3:30 p.m. (Sept. 13, 2009 by James Carbone) Credit: James Carbone

A New York State Police trooper shot a man to death after a "violent altercation" on the Robert Moses Causeway Sunday, shutting down a major roadway and prompting a massive law enforcement response, police said.

The shooting, on a busy link to popular beaches under bright and clear Sunday afternoon skies, forced the closure of the causeway.

Hundreds of beachgoers were forced to find other routes away from Robert Moses State Park, State Police said.

Late Sunday, the causeway remained shut down to traffic as authorities continued their investigation.

The trooper, based at the Brentwood State Police barracks, pursued the suspect for an unknown period of time until they came to a stop in the southbound lanes on the Causeway over Captree Island, said Sgt. Jim Needam.

"The pursuit culminated in a violent altercation between the trooper and the operator of the vehicle being pursued," Needam said.

At some point, the trooper shot the suspect, who was dead when backup officers arrived, Needam said.

The trooper suffered head injuries and was taken to a hospital and is in stable condition, police said.

Police declined to release any other information. Public identification of the fatal victim was pending notification of his relatives, Needam said.

The fatal shooting was the first involving law enforcement officers on Long Island since Aug. 6, when Suffolk police shot a Bellport man to death who they said was brandishing what turned out to be a mock machine gun.

After the shooting Sunday, dozens of police and emergency vehicles were quickly on the scene, and helicopters buzzed overhead.

Police shut down access to the Robert Moses State Parkway south of Montauk Highway and diverted traffic from Robert Moses State Park to Ocean Parkway.

With James Carbone and Jennifer Maloney

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