A knife-wielding Brooklyn man was shot and killed by a Suffolk police officer Monday in Coram after he pursued the cop for 500 feet — despite being hit with a Taser, an official said.
Paul Sulkowski, 46, then charged at the cop and was within three feet of him when the officer opened fire, according to Suffolk police Chief of Detectives Gerard Gigante.
"At three feet, someone with a knife can lunge at you and kill you even if they have been shot," Gigante said.
Gigante said the officer was treated for minor injuries Monday and released. The officer remains on active duty.
The Sixth Precinct cop shot Sulkowski outside Fairfield Townhouses at Coram on Towne Woods Road after responding to a 5:40 p.m. 911 call, Suffolk police said.
Sulkowski had spent the day at the home of his ex-girlfriend, who told police he was intoxicated and refused to leave her apartment, Gigante said. The woman called 911 a second time to warn police Sulkowski was prepared to fight responding officers.
She opened her garage door to let a responding officer inside, who then saw Sulkowski standing in the doorway between the home and the garage, clutching a knife. When Sulkowski refused to drop the knife, the officer backed out of the garage and into the street, according to police.
The officer continued to move backward, Gigante said, ordering Sulkowski to drop the knife. Sulkowski ignored those orders, the chief of detectives said.
Instead, Sulkowski chased the officer around a parked car and the cop deployed his Taser, Gigante said. But the Taser did not seem to affect Sulkowski, Gigante added, and he continued to approach the officer. When Sulkowski charged at the officer he was shot, the chief said. Sulkowski was taken to Stony Brook University Hospital where he was pronounced dead Monday night.
The shooting marked the third in 2020 involving on-duty Suffolk police and the second where a suspect died.
On June 7, Jeffrey McClure, 26, of East Northport, was shot and killed by Suffolk police after he pointed what turned out to be a pellet gun at officers, authorities said. On March 25, Suffolk police shot Christopher Malerba, then 49, of Middle Island, in the hand after an hours-long standoff that ended when he exited his home and pointed a rifle at officers with the Emergency Service Unit, authorities said.
Malerba was charged with menacing a police officer following the shooting, police said.
State Attorney General Letitia James is investigating McClure’s death.
Suffolk police arrested Sulkowski earlier this year after he choked his ex-girlfriend during a domestic dispute at the Coram home. He was charged with obstruction of breathing, Gigante said. That case was pending when Sulkowski was killed Monday. Police had also been called to the home for previous domestic incidents, Gigante said.
After the shooting, Suffolk police notified New York State Attorney General Letitia James’ office. An investigator from James’ office joined Suffolk homicide detectives at the Coram home Monday night.
In 2015, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo issued an executive order appointing the attorney general as a special prosecutor in police-involved deaths.
Legislation codifying and expanding that order passed earlier this year grants the attorney general’s office the power to investigate and prosecute police-involved fatalities. That legislation goes into effect in April.
With Antonio Planas