Ritchard Blake is the New York police officer who is accused of shooting his romantic rival in the face under the subway tracks in Brooklyn. Blake’s encounter with Thavone Santana in East New York was recorded on surveillance video obtained by the New York Post. You can watch that video here.
Blake encountered Santana on Thursday night under the elevated tracks in East New York. Blake was off duty; he seems to be wearing a pink t-shirt. The surveillance video shows the two men circling each other. Then Blake pulls out a gun. Santana takes a few steps back before Blake fires. Santana falls to the ground. Blake walks around his fallen body a few times before picking up something beside him.
Santana was shot in the jaw and is expected to survive.
Blake has a previous arrest for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend in their home.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Blake Told Police Santana Had Tried to Rob Him. But The Two Men Allegedly Knew Each Other and Were Romantic Rivals
When police showed up on the scene of the shooting Thursday night, Blake freely admitted that he had shot Santana. He was off duty at the time of the shooting. He said that he had been on his way to work and was heading for the train at Livonia Avenue in East New York when Santana approached him.
Blake claimed that Santana had pretended to have a gun in his pocket and had been trying to rob him. That’s when Blake fired off two rounds. He said, “If you tell me you got a gun and you’re gonna rob me, I’m going to shoot your a–. What am I supposed to do, wait for him to shoot me?”
But the New York Post reports that the 40 year old Blake and 21 year old Santana already knew each other. The Post reports that Blake and Santana had an “ongoing dispute” about a woman. The woman is reportedly the mother of Blake’s ten year old son.
Local TV station News 4 said it had also confirmed that Blake and Santana knew each other and had an onoing dispute, “possibly over a woman.”
2. Police Have Taken Blake’s Badge And Gun Pending an Investigation
A spokesman for the NYPD said that Blake had been placed on “modified duty” while the department investigates the Thursday night shooting. His badge and gun have been taken away pending the investigation results.
Terence Monahan, the NYPD chief, said that the department has “questions” about the shooting. He told News 4, “There are certain things that we saw during this investigation that we have questions that are unanswered at this point. Until we answer them, we felt it was best to place him on modified duty.”
3. Santana Is In Stable Condition and Is Expected to Recover
Blake shot Santana in the jaw. He is in the hospital now, and is expected to make a good recovery.
Blake initially told police that Santana had tried to rob him. The 40 year old police sergeant said that Santana, 21, approached him under the train tracks and said, “You’re gonna die tonight.” Then, Blake said, Santana pretended he had a gun and tried to rob him. Blake said that’s why he fired two rounds at Santana.
But police said the story seemed to be much more complicated.
Law enforcement sources told News 4 that Santana and Blake knew each other and had an “ongoing dispute,” possibly over a woman. The New York Post has also reported that the two men were fighting over a woman. The Post said that the woman in question is the mother of Blake’s ten year old son.
4. Blake May Have Placed a Knife Next To Santana’s Fallen Body — Only To Take It Away Again
The surveillance video is blurry, so it’s hard to be sure of all the details of Blake and Santana’s interaction.
But the video shows that after Blake shot Santana, he paced around him for a few minutes. Then, the video appears to show Blake taking a shiny object and placing it next to Santana’s body. News reports have said the object was probably a knife. But again, it’s impossible to know for certain what the shiny object really was.
A moment later, Blake seemingly changed his mind about the mysterious shiny object. He walked back over to Santana’s body, stooped over, and picked it up again.
5. Blake Was Arrested And Charged With Assaulting a Woman Back in 2016. He Was On Probation When He Shot Santana
Police were called to Blake’s home at 8:30 AM one October morning in 2016. They were called in for an alleged domestic disturbance.
Blake was arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault for allegedly hitting his girlfriend in the face.
The New York Times reports that Blake was still on a form of administrative probation at the time he shot Santana.
He has now been placed on modified duty. His gun and badge have been taken away.
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