Cop Stripped of Gun Until Investigation
Reports Claim Cop’s Bullets Wounded Bystanders
By David Greene
BRONX- Police have charged the gunman accused of robbing a pair of drug dealers, before exchanging gunfire with police– wounding two bystanders as other residents ducked for cover in University Heights.
Edwin Castillo-Concepcion, 37, was charged with multiple counts of attempted murder and criminal possession of a weapon, after police say he robbed two men of a kilo of drugs in the lobby of 98 West 183 Street, before shooting it out with police.
Police say two innocent bystanders were wounded in the exchange- a 36 year-old woman was shot in the abdomen and was transported to St. Barnabas Hospital in serious condition.
In a statement issued by NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan, read in part, “At approximately 6:08 p.m., plainclothes officers from the 52nd Precinct were in the vicinity of West 183 Street and Loring Place when they observed an individual running in their direction, wearing a mask over his face and carrying a backpack.”
A 12 year-old girl who was with the wounded woman, was struck by “bullet fragments” and was apparently taken by civilian vehicle to Bronx Lebanon Hospital. Her injuries were described as “minor.”
“As one of the officers approaches the individual,” the statement continues, “the suspect suddenly produces a firearm and shoots at him at the corner of West 183 Street and Loring Place. At that point the officer gives chase after the suspect on foot down Loring Place, exchanging gunfire with the suspect.”
After airing exclusive video showing the officer firing his weapon as he ran down the street, WCBS News reported that police officer Juan Gomez, 30, was stripped of his gun and restricted to desk duty until an inquiry by the Force Investigation Unit.
Police have since confirmed that the two bystanders were wounded by the police officer’s weapon, and the NY Daily News credited “sources” who stated that officer Gomez fired 27 rounds during the exchange.
Concepcion was also wounded, shot in the neck and the foot and was taken into custody outside the Mi Suena Sports Bar at 152 West Fordham Road.
The bag containing a kilo of an undetermined drug and a 45-caliber handgun was recovered a short distance away.
Ashley, a resident of the block was maneuvering around the multiple crime scenes roped off by police tape, recalled, “I heard about six shots, I was in my house. Its normally quiet here, but its scary and it makes me nervous.”
Another resident explained, “It’s getting crazier and crazier, every day its something else. No gangs, this is actually a quiet area… but this is almost every freaking day now. There was an assault today just down the block and we just found that out.”
Asked if police walk a beat in the area, the resident replied, “Nope, not really.”
Another resident chimed in, “They don’t walk the beat at all, they keep the beat on East 183 Street in between Davidson and Grand Avenue, they always have a little car parked there. They don’t come up here, they might drive around.”
The resident was asked about the NYPD’s Neighborhood Coordination Officer program, where officers meet residents of the community, the man replied, “I heard about that on the news, we don’t see any of that. Not over here.” He added, “It sucks because the family has been here for 20 years. Its dangerous and we can’t even send our kids to school, you have to walk them.”