A 30-year-old known gang member and “hardened criminal” is suspected of shooting a NYPD officer in the head Tuesday night in East Harlem, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
Tyrone Howard shot 33-year-old Officer Randolph Holder, and was then shot by Holder’s partner in the leg, police said. Howard fled from the scene of the shooting, a pedestrian overpass above FDR Drive, and was later captured by other officers, according to police. He was taken to a hospital and has not yet been charged.
Howard was a known gang member and had 20 previous arrests on charges including assault, robbery, criminal sale of a controlled substance, public lewdness, criminal trespassing and conspiracy, CBS New York reports.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Howard Fled From the a Gang Shootout on a Stolen Bicycle, Police Say
Holder and his partner, who are assigned to the Housing Bureau PSA 5, responded to a shots fired call at about 8:30 p.m. in the area of East 102nd Street and First Avenue in the East Harlem area of Manhattan. Police said that two rival gangs were in a a shootout in the area before police were called. Witnesses said several males had fled on a footpath adjacent to the river heading toward FDR Drive.
They arrived to find a victim who said his bicycle was stolen from him at gunpoint by one of the men.
He and the other officers, assigned to the anti-crime unit and in plainclothes, located the suspect, Howard, on a bicycle, near East 120th Street on a pedestrian overpass above FDR Drive.
2. He Is Accused of Shooting Officer Holder During a Gun Battle
When the officers located Howard, he exchanged gunfire with the two officers, police said, and Holder was shot in the head. The suspect fled on foot.
He ran north and was taken into custody about four blocks away, at 124th Street, police said.
“We believe that we have the suspect involved in the murder of our officer in custody,” Bratton said. “And we are continuing to gather evidence and continuing to seek witnesses.”
Three other men, who have not yet been identified, are also in custody and were possibly involved in the incident that led to the shooting, Bratton said. They were being questioned Wednesday morning, he said. Bratton said there may have been several firearms involved in the gunfire that led to the original police call.
3. He Was Suspected in Another Shooting in the Same Neighborhood
According to the New York Times, Howard was a suspect in another recent shooting in the neighborhood. Details of that shooting have not been released. The Times reports that police were looking for Howard, and he knew they were after him.
“He clearly knew that they were on his trail. They’ve made numerous attempts to grab him,” Stephen P. Davis, the NYPD’s deputy commissioner for public information, told the Times. “He’s considered a very major drug dealer in the East River Houses.”
4. Police Say He Was a ‘Poster Boy’ for Not Being Let Out of Prison
Howard was arrested with other gang members during a roundup last fall and was ordered into a drug diversion program, the New York Times reports. He stopped taking part in the program in May.
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton told reporters that Howard was in and out of prison and was a “poster boy” for not being let out.
5. Holder Is the 4th NYPD Officer Fatally Shot Since December 2014
Holder is the fourth NYPD officer fatally shot since last December. Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were ambushed and killed in their patrol car that month. Officer Brian Moore was shot on May 2, 2015, and died days later.
Holder was a native of Guyana who immigrated to the United States with his family. His father and grandfather were both police officers in his native country. Holder joined the NYPD in 2010.
“He was a very disciplined, fun-loving, caring young man, always with a smile on his face,” his father, also named Randolph, told the New York Post. “He was well loved by his fellow officers.”