A Sunday morning gun fight in Harlem ended when the New York Police Department killed 21-year-old Bronx resident Luis Soto. The fifth, fatal bullet that hit Soto entered near his collarbone and pierced his heart and lungs. It came from a police weapon.
Another man involved in the fight, 23-year-old Angel Alvarez, survived being shot 21 rounds. Police believe Alvarez and Soto were arguing and Alvarez decided to attack Soto, but Soto had a .38 caliber gun. Alvarez allegedly took Soto’s gun and fired at Officer Doug Brightman. Two shots rang out, which triggered a response from three other plainclothes police officers who were on the block. All told, the four police officers fired 46 bullets that night. Two of the officers were hit, one by the bullet from a colleague’s gun. Three other bystanders were also wounded.
The New York Times reported Sunday that after a preliminary review, it appeared that police officers were acting within the law and complied with deadly force guidelines. New York Daily News spoke to witnesses who say that police opened fire without provocation, though. Alvarez indicated from his hospital bed that he did not shoot.
What will happen now? A grandmother’s mourning has only just begun. So far, no charges have been filed, though according to the New York Times, Alvarez could be charged with attempted murder.
Prosecutors have said they will bring the case before a grand jury, as is customary for any shooting involving a police officer. An internal investigation is already underway. The department will be tasked with figuring out if there was any police misconduct Sunday night. But if historical precedent is at all reliable, they’ll likely turn up with nothing.