It happened around 8 p.m. Sunday at 165th Street and Boston Road in Morrisania.
According to the NYPD, uniformed officers from the 42nd Precinct saw a car driving through red lights and decided to make a traffic stop.
They reportedly boxed the black Jeep SUV in with an unmarked police vehicle angled in front with its warning lights on. A second unmarked car approached from behind.
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Police say as officers exited their vehicle, the driver of the Jeep tried to run one of the officers over.
"As the officers exited their vehicle, the Jeep backed up and sped directly towards one officer, who discharged his weapon at the vehicle, striking the driver," NYPD Chief of Department Kenneth Corey said.
The driver, identified as Luis Manuel-Monsanto, of Clifton, was shot twice in the head.
"It was so close that I literally thought it was underneath my window," a neighbor named Monet said. "I turned my lights off because I was so scared."
She said she grabbed her daughter and moved away from the window.
Three other men in the car were taken to the precinct for questioning.
The officers' body worn cameras were on, and that video is being reviewed as the investigation continues.
That evidence could be crucial, because despite the NYPD's initial description of what happened, some in the neighborhood still have questions.
"That's what's going to happen," said John Perez, who works nearby. "Officer got a gun. What you think, a car's coming at him and he's not going to shoot?"
But Monet is not convinced, and she says police need to release more information.
"I would love to see some additional evidence of where they tried to stop this vehicle, because there's no reason to stop a vehicle with five shots," she said. "How? And the boy was shot in his head? Like how? Like y'all didn't shoot no tires."
NYPD Chief Corey admits they need to learn more about what happened.
"Department policy is not to shoot at a moving vehicle unless something other than the vehicle is being used as a weapon," he said. "However, there is a carve-out in there that gets reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the first deputy commissioner's Use of Force Review Board."
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Police said Manuel-Monsanto has no criminal record in New York City or known gang affiliations
No weapons or drugs were found in the Jeep, which was owned by one of his passengers.
Two of the passengers, including the Jeep's 18-year-old owner, were questioned and released. The third, a 27-year-old back seat passenger, was held on a 2016 warrant.
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