March 15, 2007 by Joseph Krohn
A gunman shot and killed a pizza parlour employee and two unarmed volunteer police officers who pursued him, then was shot to death by other officers in a series of shootings in a crowded Manhattan neighbourhood Wednesday, New York City’s mayor said.
‘Tonight was a horrible night for the New York Police Department and for our city.’
—New York City Mayor Michael BloombergThe bedlam began around 9 p.m., when the gunman went into the pizzeria, asked for a menu and then shot an employee 15 times in the back, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. The two auxiliary officers — civilian volunteers who wear uniforms, are unarmed and help patrol streets — followed the killer briefly before he turned his gun on them, the mayor said.
The gunman, who was wearing a fake beard and carrying two guns and 100 rounds of ammunition, had to cross a street to shoot the auxiliary officers, Bloomberg said. He was killed by regular police officers who rushed to the scene. The shootouts took place outside a strip of busy restaurants and bars near New York University in a crowded section of Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. Restaurant worker Nikola Simic said he saw police officers swarm toward the middle of the street.
“Then we heard a shooting that was like a good five minutes,” Simic said. “Hearing that many shots in a row,” he said, “it was war. It felt like that for a hot second.” Witness Darren McNamara, a tourist from London, said he heard two bursts and thought it was someone shattering the front window of a shop, but it turned out to be gunfire. Police cordoned off several blocks and escorted area residents to their homes.