Retired sergeant killed by police on SI

July 22, 2008 6:24:36 PM PDT
A retired police sergeant who was questioned after a possible mob slaying was been killed by NYPD officers during a gun battle early Tuesday. The incident occurred as police responded to a call of shots fired at 36-year-old Jason Aiello's Staten Island home around 6:40 a.m.

Police reportedly observed a firearm and removed it from Aiello's lower back area. Then, while attempting to search and handcuff the suspect, police say he broke free, produced a second gun and fired a total of eight rounds at the officers.

The first two were reportedly fired while Aiello stood next to a parked SUV. The remaining six were fired from inside the vehicle, police said. The officers sought cover from behind parked cars across the street and returned fire, striking Aiello three times. Officers fired a total of 19 shots.

EMS transported Aiello to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Authorities say Aiello was the bodyguard of a prominent jeweler, Louis Antonelli, who was gunned down outside a Staten Island restaurant in April. Federal and city prosecutors say Aiello was driving at the time of the slaying and had been recently questioned.

Federal and city officials are looking into whether the jeweler had business dealings with members of the Genovese crime family and if the murder was a mob hit.

Antonelli's $9,000 in cash and three chests of jewelry were left untouched, leading authorities to immediately rule out a robbery.

Authorities are investigating why Aiello forced them to open fire, suspecting this may have been a case of suicide by cop.

Family members say Aiello had been checked into the psychiatric ward at Bayley Seaton Hospital Monday night. They say they later received a call that he had walked out, though it is unknown how he was able to get out.

To listen to an interview that Aiello gave to the Staten Island Advance, CLICK HERE.

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King and Scott Curkin


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