A Long Island police officer and another person died Tuesday morning in a shooting during what a witness described as a routine traffic stop at the New York City limits on Long Island.
Nassau County police were refusing to discuss the circumstances of the shooting, but were expected to issue a statement later Tuesday.
A law enforcement official confirmed that the Nassau County officer and a civilian were killed near the Cross Island Expressway in Bellerose Terrace, N.Y., a town at the Queens-Nassau border. The official wasn’t authorized to discuss the investigation and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
A man who said he witnessed the shooting while he was stopped at a gas station along the highway said it happened during what looked like a routine traffic stop.
“The officer’s walking up to the car. They just pulled out (a gun) and shot,” said Paul Walcott, a music producer from Bayside, Queens. “He went right down. He got hit point blank. He went straight down.”
The car then sped off, heading south on the Cross Island Parkway.
“In broad daylight, this time of day, it was incredible to see something like that,” Walcott said.
It was the second time in the past week that a Nassau County officer has died in the line of duty. Highway patrolman Joseph Olivieri was killed Thursday while responding to a traffic accident caused by an alleged drunken driver. The driver smashed into one car, then an oncoming SUV hit the driver’s vehicle before the SUV then struck the officer.
The SUV driver was not charged. The alleged drunken driver faces vehicular manslaughter and other charges. He is free on bond.
Thousands of police officers attended a funeral Monday for Olivieri outside a Long Island church.