Police officer shot in Queens

July 26, 2009 4:13:46 PM PDT
A New York City police officer responding to an early morning domestic dispute was shot once in the chest Sunday. The suspect's gun apparently went off as officers tried to arrest him. The incident happened outside a home on Menahan Street in Ridgewood.

"I heard gunshots," said Diana Cando, the cousin of Marcello Campana. "Come from downstairs because we were all in a family party."

What she found was Campana, whose nickname is Hazel and who lives as a woman, lying in the middle of Menahan Street, beaten and bruised. At the same time, officer Rodney Lewis, suffering from a gunshot wound to his chest, was being rushed to the hospital.

It all started around 11 p.m. Saturday. Relatives remember Hazel and her boyfriend, Carlos, arguing inside the house. Things eventually turned violent, and they say Carlos began beating Hazel, like so many times before.

"In the middle of the street, if a guy was trying to holler at her, he would pull her by the hair, he was very abusive," a neighbor said.

Things spilled into the street, and Hazel called her ex-boyfriend, Edwin Santana, for help. Santana is known as Mo. By this point, calls had come into police, who were on their way.

Knowing there'd be trouble, Carlos took off. Officers initially spotted a man fitting the description from the 911 calls, but it ended up being Mo and not Carlos. Both men are bald.

As they struggled to arrest Mo, his weapon, a .32-caliber long revolver, accidentally fired, striking officer Lewis. Family members watched in disbelief.

"It was me and him holding Hazel and Hazel yelling, 'That's not him, you've got the wrong guy,'" Hazel's sister, Stephanie Ortiz, said.

Officer Lewis is now recovering at Weill-Cornell Medical Center. As for Hazel, she says she is still afraid that Carlos is out there.

"You don't know what he's going to do," Ortiz said. "If he's going to come after us or my mom. Don't know what's going to happen."

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King


NEW YORK AND TRI-STATE AREA NEWS

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