2 sergeants shot, suspect killed during shootout at Westchester County motel

ARDSLEY, Westchester County (WABC) -- Two police sergeants were shot during a drug arrest at a Westchester County motel, and the suspect was killed in the shootout.

The officers were hit when gunfire erupted at the Ardsley Acres Motel on Saw Mill River Road in Ardsley just before 11 p.m. Monday.

Authorities say that FBI agents were executing a search warrant, assisted by Ardsley police and other departments. The suspect, 42-year-old Samuel Galberth, of Westhaven, Connecticut, was wanted in connection with an investigation in Connecticut where his girlfriend was found dead a few months ago.

The suspect "came out of a room and engaged opened fire in gunfire," Ardsley Police Chief Anthony Picolino said. "Multiple shots were exchanged between the officers and the suspect."

A Greenburgh police sergeant was hit in the chest, but the bullet was stopped by a vest. A Dobbs Ferry sergeant was struck in the leg, possibly by a ricochet.

Both have been released from the hospital. Galberth was pronounced dead at Westchester County Medical Center.

"All I heard was hundreds of gunshots, hundreds of them," motel guest Anthony Passananti said. "I had just walked out to get my charger, and I saw the guys run up and down. And then I just heard shots, flash bombs, shots, unbelievable gunfire. I saw the one cop come out, he got shot over here, because they took his vest off and then they took him away."

Chief Picolino said there is no ongoing criminal activity at the motel, and the police operation was targeting the suspect. There is no threat to the public, he added.

"We have a secure scene, we are not looking for anybody," he said. "This was contained, and there's nothing for them to worry about. The scene is safe, the village is safe."

A second man who had been in the motel room was arrested on another interstate warrant for bank robbery. A woman reported missing by her family in New Haven was also taken into custody, but it is not yet clear if she was being held against her will.

"It's quiet," one neighbor said. "I don't stay there, but it doesn't give me any problems. And this just isn't what we're used to."

Right now, it is unclear if the sergeants were injured by gunfire from the suspect, or if it was friendly fire.

That's going to be the subject of an investigation by the Westchester County Prosecutor's Office.

The Westchester County District Attorney's Office released a statement that said, in part, "We wish them a speedy and thorough recovery. At this time, we want to commend the brave FBI agents and police officers who responded and put themselves in harm's way to protect the people of Westchester County."

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