A retired New York Police Department officer is accused of shooting his neighbor Monday afternoon in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn, the New York Post reports.
The 51-year-old former NYPD cop, Gene Barrett, barricaded himself inside the apartment building after the shooting and eventually surrendered to police after a standoff that lasted two hours, the Post reports.
The victim, Joseph Sapinksi, 45, was rushed to the hospital in critical condition, Deputy Police Chief Michael Kemper said.
Barrett stole Sapinski’s keys and cell phone and locked himself inside the apartment, police told the Post. The motive has not yet been made public by police, but sources told the newspaper that Barrett claimed to have found hidden cameras in the apartment last week and confronted Sapinski about it.
The ex-cop was seen on video going through Sapinski’s pockets before entering the building, the Post reports.
The victim’s girlfriend is the building’s landlord, the New York Daily News reports.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Victim Was Found on the Sidewalk With a Gunshot Wound to the Head
Deputy Chief Michael Kemper said officers from the 94th Precinct responded about 2:35 p.m. to 185 Greenpoint Avenue for a reported shooting and found the victim, Joseph Sapinski on the sidewalk outside the location. He was suffering from a gunshot wound to the head.
“I saw two men. There was a guy bleeding on the floor, from his head. I saw him fall to the floor,” mail carrier Chris Saunders told the New York Post. “Then I saw a girl running and crying, saying, ‘Someone just got shot!’ She said the shooter went in the building.”
EMS took Sapinski to Bellevue Hospital.
Police initially told reporters the victim died, but later said he is on life support.
Camille, a local business owner, told NBC New York she heard the initial gunshot and thought it was a popped tire. She said police then swarmed the area.
“Shortly after that, we saw a police officer go and knock on a window at 185 Greenpoint, and we saw the guy come out with a gun, and at that point we all hit the ground,” Camille told NBC New York. “At that point me and everybody in the shop hit the floor and waited for instructions from police, and after about 10 minutes, they asked us to kind of crawl out, keep low and kind of come down the block here.”
Colleen, who was in another shop, told NBC New York she saw a man being loaded into an ambulance. He was bleeding from the head, she said.
“It was kind of very surreal to see that and hear that,” she told the news station.
2. Police Snipers, Armored Vehicles & Officers in Tactical Gear Surrounded the Greenpoint Store Before Barrett Surrendered Peacefully
Police snipers were posted on nearby rooftops, an armored truck was brought to the scene and officers in tactical gear took up positions around the Greenpoint building where the shooting occurred.
An officer with a megaphone tried to convince the retired officer to surrender, the New York Daily News reports.
About 4:30 p.m. Gene Barrett emerged from the store, wearing a red Old Navy T-shirt with an American flag on it and blue jeans, and surrendered, holding his arms up in the air before being led away in handcuffs.
Jared Friedman, the manager of Kimchee Market, told DNAInfo he heard the officers trying to talk Barrett out.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” he said. “It’s alarming.”
3. Barrett Worked in Midtown North & Retired on a Disability Pension
Gene Barrett worked for the NYPD in Midtown North, the New York Post reports. Other details about his career have not yet been released.
According to the Post, Barrett retired in 2008 on a disability pension.
He retired because of a bad back, the Post reports.
4. Neighbors Said the Ex-Cop Is ‘Always Moody’ & Has Fought With Other Residents Over Parking Before
The New York Daily News reports that Barrett lived in a three-story walk-up apartment in the 185 Greenpoint Avenue building where the shooting occurred.
“He is an ex-cop,” a neighbor told the Daily News. “He was always moody. He had real anger issues.”
According to the New York Post, Barrett is known to get into fights with other residents over parking, and has hung signs in the past urging drivers to stay away.
Police haven’t released a motive for the shooting.
Sources told the Post that Barrett flies off the handle “over anything and everything.”
He has made complaints about tenants and the FBI spying on him several times in the past, according to the Post.
Barrett also has made at least 12 complaints with local police for various things, including claims people let the air out of his tires to someone putting cameras in his yard.
“He’s a nut. He’s been arguing with his neighbors for over 10 years,” a police source told the Post.
A former neighbor told the newspaper, “Just a quiet angry guy. In the middle of the night, he would be drunk [and] mad about something and just shout ‘c*nt’ at the top of his lungs.”
5. Police Say They Are Continuing to Talk to Witnesses & Barrett Is Not Cooperating in the Investigation
Deputy Chief Michael Kemper said police are continuing to investigate the shooting. The victim’s name is not being released until family members are notified.
Gene Barrett has not yet been charged.
“Investigators have one person of interest in custody,” Kemper said. “Two firearms have been recovered. At this stage of the investigation we are still in the process of identifying a motive for the shooting. Additionally, investigators are in the process of speaking to witnesses, recovering video amongst other investigatory steps.”
According to the New York Post, Barrett is refusing to talk to detectives and is not cooperating in the investigation.
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