A New York Moment
September 27, 2004
I'll admit it -- I'm a New Yorker. I've lived here for over a decade post-college, and grew up outside the city. But until now, I have managed to avoid some of the more dramatic and/or dangerous moments -- things that, to outsiders, may seem somewhat stereotypical to life here in the Big Apple. Knock on wood, I've never been mugged, never had my apartment broken into, never been hit by a cab (I've come waaay too close to it for my personal taste, however), never seen a huge roach crawl across my kitchen counter. Wait -- that one I've experienced.
Today, like many days, I took a stroll to Whole Foods to get some lunch with my co-worker, Colin. We made our purchases, and had just stepped back onto Seventh Avenue, when we heard an incredibly loud pop. We spun around to see, about 70 yards away from us, in the middle of the intersection, a man in a red t-shirt on the ground, surrounded by three men in blue blazers, presumably police officers, pointing their guns at him, yelling at him to stop moving. They shot him at least once when he was already down. One of the officers yelled to the crowd to call 911, and several people did; a man standing near me had already gotten through. Within moments, several uniformed police officers arrived, followed closely by EMS, and oddly, several cameramen and photographers. We stood, transfixed, shocked, stunned, until we had composed ourselves enough to slowly walk back to the office. Colin and I wondered the whole time what this guy could have done to justify the shooting. Was he armed? We couldn't tell. Was he really struggling after he was on the ground? He'd just been shot; of course he was moving around. I keep checking NY1 to see if there's any news about it yet, but so far, nothing, except the closeby, yet unrelated fire at Penn Station, which has made my work neighborhood look like a disaster zone. I had never seen someone get shot; someone bleeding through his shirt as he lay on the ground, at least not outside of the movies or TV; I certainly never thought I would see it during the course of a seemingly normal, average day. That is one "stereotypical" New York moment, among others, that I never wanted to witness firsthand.
UPDATE: a link to some news coverage -- he did, in fact, appear to be armed.
FURTHER UPDATE: later news coverage reports that he was fatally shot by the police and that the gun he was carrying was an antique-style gun which wasn't able to fire.