A man was fatally shot by the police in the East Village this afternoon after a scuffle broke out inside a halfway house on Sixth Street near Avenue B.
Police sources told the Daily News that two detectives entered 538 Sixth Street intending to arrest Felix David for allegedly beating and robbing a woman in Harlem on Thursday; after a brief run down the fire escape, David scuffled with the officers for about five minutes and then grabbed one of their walkie-talkies and struck him in the head with it. [Update: read the NYPD’s official account below.]
David was taken to Beth Israel Hospital in critical condition but didn’t survive the single shot to the torso. The two detectives were taken to Bellevue Hospital with head injuries.
Police closed off the street for most of the day, denying local residents access to their apartments and blocking traffic.
Jamal Hyman, a violinist who has lived on the street for eight years, was meeting his mother for lunch when he smelled the gunpowder in the air. “It seemed like anyone involved with law enforcement was on Sixth Street,” he told Bedford + Bowery. “I’ve never seen anything like that in the years that I’ve lived here.”
Hyman wasn’t aware that the building where the shooting occurred was a housing facility for people with mental illness. He and his neighbor, local artist Tom Henner, have lived in the East Village since the sixties, when they said violence was very common.
They thought the incident is an isolated one. “You’ve got the bars here now, you’ve got the ice cream place,” said Henner. “You got all these things serving the new population, people with the money.”
Update, April 26, 12pm: The NYPD has released an official account of the incident, which notes that one of the officers also dislocated his shoulder:
On Thursday, April 23, 2015, at 1820 hours, the victim, a 21-year-old female, was giving a presentation at City College, located at 160 Convent Avenue, within the confines of the 26 Precinct, when the suspect interrupted and demanded to see her. The victim went outside into the hallway where the two became involved in an argument which resulted in the suspect punching the victim about the body and face. The suspect then removed the victim’s purse containing cash, her keys, cell phone, identification, bank cards and gift cards and then fled the scene. 911 was called and a canvass was conducted for the suspect which was met with negative results. Detectives arrived on the scene shortly after and began to conduct an investigation. The victim identified the suspect as a 22-year-old male who the victim knew. Detectives were able to determine that the suspect was staying at 538 East 6 Street in Manhattan.
On Saturday, April 25, 2015, at 1348 hours, two detectives responded to the East 6 Street address and while they approached a sixth floor apartment, the suspect fled out a window and down the fire escape. The two detectives ran down the steps of the building and confronted the suspect in the lobby area. There, a violent struggle ensued between the suspect and the two detectives. During the five minute long fight, the suspect was able to grab hold of a police radio. Armed with the radio, he began to strike both detectives in the head causing lacerations and abrasions to both of the detective’s heads. During the beating, one detective drew his firearm and fired once, striking the suspect in the torso. EMS responded and transported the suspect to Beth Israel Hospital where he was pronounced deceased. The two officers were taken to Bellevue Hospital, both with bruising and lacerations to the head and one with a dislocated shoulder. They are both listed in stable condition. Identity of the suspect is pending proper family notification. The investigation is ongoing.