Fatal police involved shooting in Brooklyn

November 13, 2008 9:29:19 PM PST
A chair-wielding man was fatally shot by a housing police officer at a truancy center operated out of the basement of a church in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, according to police. The shooting happened at the Coney Island Gospel Assembly at 2828 Neptune Avenue just after 12:45 p.m. this afternoon. The assembly runs a truancy center in its basement for children caught skipping school.

Officer Dawn Ortiz was assigned there for the day and was told by a custodian that a man in the parking lot was trying to break into a car. Ortiz and another officer said they approached the man and yelled twice for him to put down the chair.

The man got about a foot from Ortiz with the chair before she fired, police said, hitting him in the chest.

Neighbors say dozens of police officers descended on the scene in mere minutes.

"To see something like this over here is really weird. Coney Island has its moments, but it doesn't happen in this area," Pam Harris said.

No children were injured.

The man was taken to a Brooklyn hospital, where he died. The suspect wasn't carrying identification, and police were trying to identify him.

Ortiz, 33, was taken to Lutheran Medical Center for treatment of trauma.

Ortiz has not been involved in any other shootings. She has been on the police force since 1999, regularly assigned to the housing bureau.

Police said it was too early in the investigation to determine whether the shooting was justified. An officer may use deadly force when he or she faces an imminent threat of serious physical injury or death.

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