Any NYPD officer shot a man in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights on Wednesday afternoon after telling the alleged Bloods gang member not to reach for a gun he had dropped while fleeing a car crash, DNAinfo reports.
During a press conference, NYPD Chief of Patrol Carlos Gomez said the officer, while issuing tickets, saw, around 12:10 p.m., on Empire Boulevard, near Brooklyn Avenue, a white Ford Mustang “driving very recklessly.”
The officer, who was not named, caught up to the Mustang in his patrol cruiser, Gomez said, and attempted to pull the car over. The driver—identified by his lawyer as 24-year-old Kareem Thomas—sped off, eventually crashing into a flatbed truck. Thomas, holding a gun, got out of the car and started running.
The officer caught up to him in front of 609 Montgomery Ave., where the suspect fell and dropped his semi-automatic Ruger handgun, police said.
“Don’t reach for the gun,” the officer told the suspect, according to sources.
“The individual does not heed those warnings, attempts to grab the gun,” Gomez said. “Our officer discharges his firearm twice, striking the individual one time in the lower abdomen.”
Gomez said police recovered a semiautomatic Ruger pistol at the scene.
An anonymous law enforcement official described Thomas as a member of the Bloods, the New York Times reports. However, one of Thomas’ lawyers, Damien Brown, described him as a quiet man with a “family that cares about him.”
“He just had a baby; he’s just trying to find a job right now,” Brown said. “His mother is distraught, crying uncontrollably.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Thomas had made an appearance in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn, where he faces attempted murder charges, in the case of an October 2011 shooting at a bodega. (Brown said that a close relative had recently put up her house to help Thomas meet his $100,000 bond in a 2013 gun possession charge.) He was in court to set a trial date.