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NYPD: Unarmed robbery suspect fatally shot by detective during struggle

NYPD Chief of Department James O'Neill speaks Saturday,

NYPD Chief of Department James O'Neill speaks Saturday, April 25, 2015 about a suspect who was shot once in the torso by an NYPD officer’s bullet during "a violent, physical struggle" with the two detectives attempting to make an arrest. Credit: Koki Takahashi

An NYPD detective fatally shot an unarmed robbery suspect in the East Village Saturday afternoon after the man grabbed a police radio and went on the attack to avoid arrest, police said.

The suspect was struck once in the torso by an officer's bullet during "a violent, physical struggle" with two detectives trying to arrest him, NYPD Chief of Department James O'Neill said.

The identity of the suspect, who died a short time later at Beth Israel Medical Center, was not released.

The detectives -- who had gone to a halfway house at 538 East Sixth St., between avenues A and B, to make the arrest -- were injured during the struggle, which started with the suspect hitting one of the cops in the head with the radio, O'Neill said.

The department said later that both officers were hit with the radio during the five-minute altercation. "They're banged up pretty bad in the head," said Deputy Commissioner Steve Davis, the NYPD's chief spokesman. One of the officers was admitted to a hospital.

O'Neill said the incident began around 1:45 p.m., when the detectives knocked at the door of a sixth-floor apartment where they had learned the suspect was staying.

The suspect fled out a window in the rear of the building, and officers ran down the stairs in pursuit, O'Neill said.

On the first floor, the detectives caught up with the man and attempted to make the arrest, he said. One of the detectives was hit with the radio with such force that the device shattered, according to Davis.

The suspect is black, as is the detective who fired his gun. The other detective is Hispanic, O'Neill said. Both cops have been on the force for more than 20 years.

Sgt. Carlos Nieves, a police spokesman, said the alleged robbery occurred Thursday night, when the suspect went to Convent Avenue in upper Manhattan to meet a 21-year-old woman.

He asked the woman to go somewhere with him and when she refused, he punched her and stole her purse, the department said. Nieves said the suspect has a "violent history," but did not provide specifics.

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