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Sharpton to meet with slain Guardsman's family

Hassan Hamdy leaves his home in Centereach on

Hassan Hamdy leaves his home in Centereach on Friday, Oct. 5, 2012. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

The unarmed Army National Guardsman from Queens who was fatally shot by an NYPD detective wanted to be a police officer, his family said Friday.

As the family of Noel Polanco, 23, planned to meet Saturday with the Rev. Al Sharpton, NYPD officials had no further comment on the fatal shooting Thursday.

Polanco's mother, Cecilia Reyes, who lived with him in Lefrak City, is to meet with Sharpton at his office in Harlem about 10 a.m. Saturday. She told reporters that her son wanted to finish his National Guard service and then apply to be an NYPD officer.

"He was just a wonderful kid, I never had any problems with him," Reyes said.

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement that his office was still investigating the shooting.

"The events surrounding that which occurred early [Thursday] morning on the Grand Central Parkway in East Elmhurst are being investigated by my office and the New York City Police Department's Internal Affairs Division. The public can be assured that the investigation will be full, fair and complete," Brown said.

Commissioner Ray Kelly met with Reyes at her home Friday night to express his condolences.

Polanco's family and Sharpton will push for a grand jury investigation, said a source close to the family. Legal action also is possible, the source said.

Polanco, who had just left his job at the Ice Lounge in Astoria, was driving his Honda eastbound on the Grand Central Parkway when he was stopped near Exit 7 about 5:15 a.m. Thursday and shot by an NYPD detective, police said. Polanco was driving erratically, according to police.

Polanco died in a hospital about 5:58 a.m. after, according to a law enforcement official, NYPD Det. Hassan Hamdy of Centereach fired his Glock 19 firearm once, wounding the Corona man in the abdomen. A police official said a woman passenger reported that she saw Polanco's hands on the steering wheel just before Hamdy fired.

Hamdy, 39, was on assignment with an NYPD emergency services apprehension unit when the encounter with Polanco occurred. Polanco, who worked in the hookah part of the Ice Lounge, had left the club with Diane DeFerrari and her friend Vanessa Rodriguez, an off-duty NYPD officer. Rodriguez, a law enforcement official said, was on modified duty because of a shoplifting charge. Polanco was driving both women home.

DeFerrari, of Corona, told reporters Thursday night that police fired simultaneously with the verbal command for passengers to put up their hands. "The shot came right past my face and shot him," said DeFerrari, who works as a bartender at the club.

Rodriguez didn't want to talk Friday. But her sister Sandra, 28, said Vanessa was asleep in the Honda's backseat when she was suddenly awakened by a loud bang.

"She thought they got in a car accident," said Sandra Rodriguez. "Then she heard shouting and cops converged on the car yelling" at them to get out.

Federal court records show Hamdy was among a group of officers sued by a Brooklyn club owner who accused police of harassment in 1999. The case was settled for $291,000 with no admission of liability by the city, records show.

In Hamdy's neighborhood, Kevin Harrigan, 56, said he sees the detective working on his yard now and then and playing with his son.

"They're quiet," Harrigan said of the family.

With Chau Lam and Igor Kossov


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