Nassau County Police Officer Arthur Lopez
An ex-convict is in custody after a police officer in Nassau County, N.Y., was killed on the job on Tuesday and a driver was carjacked and shot to death later in the day.
The officer's death came one day after his colleagues attended the funeral of another officer in the police department on Long Island, reported NBCNewYork.com.
The suspect, Darrel Fuller of Brooklyn, previously served five years in prison for a 2004 attempted murder, according to The New York Daily News.
Officer Arthur Lopez, 29, an eight-year police veteran, was killed Tuesday around 11 a.m. after getting shot in what started out as a traffic stop, reported The New York Daily News. Fuller, 33, was arrested on charges of shooting him as well as another driver, 52-year-old Queens resident Raymond Facey, in a subsequent carjacking, said NBCNewYork.com. Both Officer Lopez and Facey died from their wounds.
"Someone is chasing me," Facey reportedly told his daughter over the phone before Fuller stole his car, reported The Daily News.
Lopez's death came the day after officers attended the funeral of Nassau County highway patrolman Joseph Olivieri, who was killed last Thursday when he was hit by a car at a crash scene where he had responded.
Frank Eltman / AP
Nassau County PBA President James Carver, left, discusses the shooting death of Police Officer Arthur Lopez, shown in picture on table, at a news conference, on Tuesday at police headquarters in Mineola, N.Y. Listening from second left are Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, District Attorney Kathleen Rice, County Comptroller George Maragos and First Deputy Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter.
Lopez, was on patrol Tuesday in Bellerose Terrace, a community at the border of Queens, N.Y., and Nassau County. The officer and his partner spotted a damaged silver Honda that was "running on rims," suspecting it was wanted for leaving the scene of a hit-and-run accident, authorities said, according to NBCNewYork.com.
The officers gave chase, and the car pulled over. There was "a brief exchange of words" between Lopez and the driver before the driver left the vehicle and fired one round into Lopez's chest, said Nassau County Police Department Chief Steven Skrynecki, according to NBCNewYork.com, adding that the officer wasn't wearing a bulletproof vest.
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The second officer administered first aid to Lopez, officials said. He was later hospitalized for trauma.
Lopez "lost his life to a cold-blooded killer," Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said at a news conference.
The shooter got back into his car and drove away before abandoning the vehicle and accosting Facey, the Queens resident, authorities said. He shot the Queens man in the head, dragged him out of his car and left him dead on the roadway as he drove away, they said. That car later was found abandoned in a residential neighborhood in Queens.
The slayings touched off a search for Fuller that included heavily armed NYPD officers going door-to-door in Queens, reported NBCNewYork.com. Authorities also closed the Cross Island Parkway for several hours, causing traffic delays.
A 911 caller reported hearing gunfire in Queens amid the massive manhunt for Fuller. Responding officers found him in a vehicle — not the one carjacked — with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the shoulder, said The Daily News.
Fuller was hospitalized in police custody. It was unclear if he had a lawyer.
Fuller pleaded guilty to attempted murder in 2005, reported NBCNewYork.com. He was jailed again in 2010 after violating his parole, but was released in May 2011.
"We're endeavoring to find out what triggered this entire series of events," Skrynecki said while announcing the arrest late Tuesday.
Before the shootings, Fuller left a hospital and had gotten in a car accident, the chief added, but wouldn't elaborate.
A man who witnessed the officer's shooting as he was stopped at a gas station along the highway said it 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, N.Y., reported NBCNewYork.com. "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.
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