The Cambria Heights community has raised many questions about an early morning standoff last week between law enforcement officials from various agencies and a fugitive who was shot during the confrontation.
A task force consisting of U.S. Marshals from New York and New Jersey, the NYPD and the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department were dispatched to the corner of 116th Avenue and Springfield Boulevard July 1 after they got a tip on the whereabouts of a violent, wanted man, according to the U.S. Marshals Office.
Charles Mitchell, 27, who was being sought by the authorities in connection with two shootings in New York and a parole violation, was approached by officers at the corner shortly before 8 a.m. During the arrest, he became “non-compliant and made furtive movements,” prompting a Suffolk County sheriff to shoot him in the abdomen, the U.S. Marshals Office said.
“I heard a ‘pow, pow’ and I said, ‘Oh, God, I hope they don’t hit me,’” said Queen Limbacker, 65, who was in her apartment during the shooting.
Mitchell was taken to Jamaica Hospital in stable condition and did not have any life-threatening injuries, the U.S. Marshals said. The authorities did not further elaborate why the Suffolk officer shot the fugitive, but several eyewitnesses said they did not see Mitchell attack the officers.
Several residents of the block said they saw Mitchell walking down the street from a nearby McDonald’s with a female.
“The ... man did not have a gun. He had a McDonald’s bag,” said Patricia Humphrey, 63, who was at her home across the street during the shooting.
Officers searched the area for a weapon, using helicopters and dogs and even dug open sewers, but no gun was found. The U.S. Marshals Office said the matter was still under investigation.
Residents said the Cambria Heights neighborhood is generally quiet and they did not know whether Mitchell was hiding out there while on the lam.
“These things are going to happen all the time in the city, but it doesn’t happen here,” said a resident of the neighborhood for 30 years who asked not to be named.
Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@c
©2009 Community News Group
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