Shootout with police ends in crash and arrest on Long Island

UNIONDALE, Nassau County (WABC) -- A shootout involving police and a robbery suspect ended in a crash on a Long Island street, one injured officer, and the suspect in custody.

Authorities say officers on routine patrol attempted to pull over a black Dodge Charger in Uniondale that matched the description of a vehicle involved in an earlier robbery in Levittown.

Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said a run of the plate came back as stolen, and that when the subject realized he was being followed by police, he attempted to flee.

The driver apparently tried to squeeze between two cars, one that was parked and one that was occupied, injuring the person in the occupied car and damaging his front left wheel.

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He continued down the road a bit further and then came to a stop, police said, before firing two shots at the officers.

"As they were stepping out, the individual fired twice from his vehicle, one through the window, hitting the hood of the car," Ryder said. "If that's two inches higher, it goes and strikes my officer who is crouched right between that door."

The officers returned fire, hitting the Dodge several times. Ryder said the suspect again took off, eventually turning down a one-way street and exiting the vehicle.

Police say he again tried to fire at officers, but his gun was empty. He then fled on foot, stopping along the way to hold his gun to his head in what Ryder called an attempt at so-called suicide by cop, but that the officers were restrained and instead continue the pursuit.

"They told him to drop the gun, and he didn't drop it," witness Marisa Henley said. "They were telling him to drop the gun, and he was talking about he was going to kill himself. And then the officers chased him, and I see him run, jump over the fence, and he ran to the next block."

Ryder said one officer suffered a serious knee injury when a fence collapsed under him, but the other officers continued the pursuit and eventually caught the suspect, who threw his weapon and laid down on the street.

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Police identified the suspect as 20-year-old Jonathan Vazquez, who they say is a gang member also wanted for a shooting in Hempstead several weeks ago in which a woman nearly died. He is also being investigated for an ongoing robbery pattern across Nassau County.

In the Uniondale incident, he is charged with two counts of first-degree attempted murder of a police officer, second-degree assault and weapons offenses.

He is also charged with first-degree robbery for the Levittown incident, as well as in the Hempstead shooting.

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