A scooter-riding suspect fleeing a Bronx buy-and-bust drug sting was killed when an NYPD sergeant smacked him with a cooler grabbed from a local family’s outing, sending the victim tumbling to his death, an eyewitness and police sources said Thursday.
NYPD Sgt. Erik Duran, an NYPD Bronx narcotics veteran who joined the force in 2010, was suspended without pay just hours after the lethal encounter, police said.
An eyewitness, a 25-year local resident, was with relatives when the clash began on Aqueduct Ave. near W. 190th St. about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in Kingsbridge Heights.
The 30-year-old suspect, Eric Duprey, “was on the bike, moving north when the cops started chasing him,” said the 42-year-old witness, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “Then he took a U-turn and was riding on the sidewalk… The cop then took my cooler, which was filled with soda cans, water bottles, and hit him.”
The victim’s wife Orlyanis Velez said police were providing her with no details of the deadly encounter.
“We were given no information,” she told the Daily News. “I am scared as (police) are acting as if nothing happened.”
The witness recalled how children at the family party were “almost paralyzed by what they saw. I think he died the moment he fell on the ground, because there was no movement. The cops tried doing CPR but that did not do any good.”
The bystander said he was told by an officer at the scene that the death “was an accident. Just go away.”
“The NYPD is committed to ensuring that there will be a full, thorough and transparent investigation of this incident to determine the facts and to take the appropriate steps forward,” a police spokesperson said in a statement Thursday afternoon.
Duran has faced 17 allegations over his career, with only one substantiated, for an unnecessary stop, according to public records.
The victim’s stepdad Jose Colon stood Thursday near the scene of the confrontation, trying to make sense of what happened.
“Why couldn’t the cop use any piece of equipment which was authorized for him to use?” he asked. “Why did he hit him with a cooler? What happened to the cop’s Taser?”
The dead man’s blood remained visible near the spot where the fleeing suspect slammed into a Jeep.
“They tried to wash it off but some of it is still left,” said Colon. “(The police) threw the cooler in the grass.”
The fatal encounter began as the police undercover officer moved in to arrest the suspect following the drug buy when the man hopped aboard a scooter and motored away, police said.
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