The family of a 21-year-old man fatally shot in Brooklyn by two NYPD officers after assaulting them with a police baton disputed the official account of the encounter Sunday, as the second injured officer was released from the hospital.
Erickson Brito, 21, of Mother Gaston Boulevard in the Brownsville section, was shot and killed Saturday afternoon in the ninth-floor hallway of the Van Dyke Houses after police said he grabbed a metal baton from one of the officers and struck both of them.
Brito’s sister, Omahis Brito, said her brother, whom she described as “a quiet guy,” was on his way to the store to buy cigarettes and visit his aunt when he encountered the officers.
“We don’t feel like he grabbed the baton from the police officer,” said Omahis Brito, 19, who said her brother was not violent. “Why did they shoot at him seven times? Why couldn’t it be once? Police officers are supposed to protect us, and they ended up killing him.”
Sgt. Brendan Ryan, an NYPD spokesman, said Sunday night he could not respond to the family’s claims because the incident is still under investigation.
The NYPD has not said exactly how many shots were fired. NYPD Chief of Housing James Secreto said Saturday the officers approached Brito in the hallway and asked him for identification, a scuffle broke out and one of the officers removed his baton, but Brito grabbed it and struck both officers more than once.
“Both officers at this time fired at the subject and he was struck several times,” Secreto said.
Brito was pronounced dead at the scene of the 1:10 p.m. encounter at 362 Sutter Ave., police said.
The NYPD did not release the names of the officers, who were both taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center on Saturday. The male officer, whom police said had a 2-inch gash on his head, was released from the hospital Sunday, police said. The female officer was released Saturday night, police said.
Brito’s funeral is tentatively planned for Tuesday, his sister said.
His family, Omahis Brito said, is “devastated” without the young man, a high school graduate who loved listening to music and eating his mom’s home cooking.
“We just want him to come in through that door,” she said.
With David Olson