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Investigators looking for surveillance video found the DVD missing and cables cut, sources said. That’s when one of the cops fired a single shot, apparently hitting the fleeing car’s tire, a police source said. He was taken to the hospital with a gunshot wound to the leg after Thursday’s p.m. Incident, which shut down the highway and caused miles-long backups in both directions, and later died, law enforcement sources have said. No injuries occurred as a result of the incident but one officer was taken to a nearby hospital for observation. The officer sped up towards him and attempted to box him in, Harrison said.
Police say all westbound lanes of the highway have been reopened. According to officials, all westbound lanes of the Belt Parkway at Cropsey Avenue were closed due to the incident. Astarita had at least six prior arrests, his latest in 2017 for an unlicensed operator of a vehicle, according to sources. The chaotic scene was likely a case of suicide-by-cop, according to sources.
Harrison said the officers had their body cameras activated at the time of the shooting. Astarita can be seen in video of the incident getting struck by a cascade of bullets. Several NYPD officers were injured Wednesday as a driver fled from a traffic stop and hit them with his car, drawing police gunfire, cops said. As the officer was approaching the car, the driver sped off, kicking off a chase eastbound on the Belt Parkway. The officer managed to stop in front of the suspect’s car near the Verrazano Bridge – but the suspect slammed into her vehicle and drove off again. Another highway patrol cop joined the pursuit – the two officers finally pulling over the crazed driver near the Bay Parkway Exit.
Police took a 21-year-old man involved in the incident into custody, but it was not immediately clear if he was the driver of the Mercedes. The centerfire shooting sports highway has since fully reopened as of Sunday afternoon. Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.