Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Official: New York LI police officer among 2 dead

News | Official: New York LI police officer among 2 dead

A Nassau County police officer was shot dead Tuesday -- the second time in less than a week an officer on the force was killed in the line of duty.

The officer killed Tuesday is Arthur Lopez of the Emergency Services Unit, sources said. Lopez and another person were fatally shot Tuesday on the Cross Island Parkway on the Queens/Nassau border, the sources said. It was unclear whether the slain civilian was a suspect in the eight-year veteran officer's death.

Lopez's slaying comes one day after the funeral of the other fallen officer, a Nassau highway patrolman who was struck and killed by an SUV on the Long Island Expressway on Thursday.

A suspect in Lopez's shooting was on the loose in Queens. Law enforcement sources said the suspect is being sought on the Nassau/Queens border in "a wide search area."

In addition to Nassau police and NYPD, federal law enforcement officers from the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and U.S. marshals flocked to the scene to assist in the search.

NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said there is a possibility that the suspect involved in the police officer's shooting shot an individual in the vicinity of Hempstead Turnpike and the Cross Island.

"We found a body there with one bullet wound to the head," Kelly said.

Kelly said the shooting involving the fallen officer happened "at a location at 241st and Jamaica Avenue, which is in Nassau County." He said "we are in the process of gathering" information about the shooting, which happened after Nassau Police officers saw an accident take place and followed a vehicle that left the scene.

An FBI spokesman confirmed the bureau is assisting Nassau police and the NYPD in the investigation -- and a search for any potential suspects -- but stressed the incident is not terrorism related
Because of how close the crime was to the Queens/Nassau border, the offices of the district attorneys from both counties -- Richard Brown of Queens and Kathleen Rice of Nassau -- are discussing who will handle any prosecutions, said Kevin Ryan, a Brown spokesman.

Nassau County police officials have yet to provide an account of the incident, which occurred near the southbound entrance ramp to the parkway, near a Mobil gas station on Jamaica Avenue.

Brandon Ramos, 21, said he was at his father's kitchen and bath remodeling business across the street from the gas station when the shooting occurred.

"As I was walking upstairs, I heard a huge boom," Ramos said. "I ran outside and I saw a cop lying on the floor, on his back, and the other officer was administering CPR . . . He was shot in the chest. He was motionless. The other cop looked really distraught."

The Cross Island was closed in both directions because of police activity, according to the New York State Department of Transportation.

The department's website,, reported the closing near Jamaica Avenue at 11:33 a.m. in a traffic alert.

On Monday, law enforcement officers by the thousands came to Long Island for the funeral of the highway patrolman, Officer Joseph Olivieri, 43, a 13-year veteran who was struck and killed Thursday by a passing sport utility vehicle at the scene of an accident on the LIE.

Another Nassau County police officer was critically injured earlier this month when he was struck by a car in Lawrence while cracking down on speeders. The officer's condition has been upgraded from critical to serious, Shelley Lotenberg, spokeswoman for the Nassau University Medical Center, said Tuesday.

The officer, 57, was airlifted to the hospital with a fractured skull, pelvis and leg and internal bleeding after the Oct. 2 accident. Police declined to name the officer, but said he is a 29-year veteran with several awards, including two for saving lives.

Lopez is the fourth Nassau police officer to be killed in the line of duty in the previous 20 months.

Officer Geoffrey J. Breitkopf was fatally shot March 12, 2011, after being mistaken for an armed suspect by a Metropolitan Transportation Authority police officer in Massapequa Park. Breitkopf, 40, of Selden, was a member of the force's Bureau of Special Operations and was shot after a knife-wielding man had been killed at the scene by Nassau police.

A month earlier, police Officer Michael Califano was killed on the LIE when a flatbed truck struck his patrol vehicle during a traffic stop.

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