David Pratt – An undercover NYPD police officer fired over a dozen shots Saturday after being threatened by a mugger with a replica gun, failing to subdue his target and killing a 61-year-old bystander instead.
Felix Kumi, who was walking along Beekman Ave in Mount Vernon to pick up his car from a repair shop when he was struck by police bullets. died of two torso wounds.
According to Mount Vernon police commissioner Terrance Raynor and witnesses, the shooting spree also hit several vehicles, with bullets flying through windows of a nearby business and through the front door of a house
The man with the fake weapon, Alvin Smothers, attempted to rob the undercover officer as he was about to buy a gun from a suspected illegal arms dealer as part of a sting operation. The robber was reportedly hit three times as he was running away. According to witness reports and police statements the officer fired at the fleeing robber anywhere between 11 and 21 shots. Smothers escaped the scene with $2,400 intended for the gun dealer, but was later arrested. He is now in the hospital with serious injuries.
“Mr. Kumi was blameless, and this tragedy has tested and tried his family,” NYPD Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said in a statement on Saturday. “I pray that they may find comfort in their hope of resurrection and awakening.”
The officer, who has not been named, is a 10-year veteran of the NYPD, reportedly bought 25 guns from the same gun dealer, 28-year-old Jeffrey Aristy, in 10 previous encounters. Aristy, who was also shot, initially slipped away from the scene but was caught later outside his home in the Bronx.
The shooting incident is being investigated by the Westchester County district attorney.