By Joe Anuta
Police shot and killed a Glendale man last week after responding to a domestic dispute call from the man’s mother, police said.
A sergeant and three officers arrived at the man’s house at 64-49 Shaler Ave. Dec. 22 and opened the front door to find Zachary Bingert, 21, standing in the dark holding a knife, a police spokesman said.
Officers shouted “Drop the knife” several times at Bingert, who repeatedly lunged at the officers with the knife, according to police. When Bingert refused to drop his weapon, officers fired a total of eight shots, wounding Bingert nine times, police said.
Medical personnel pronounced Bingert dead at the scene, police said.
A number of officers were taken to Jamaica Hospital for trauma and minor injuries, according to police. The sergeant suffered a cut on his hand, but by last Thursday afternoon it was unclear if the injury was caused by Bingert’s knife, police said.
According to police, the mother had an order of protection against her son, although they lived in the same house. This was also not the first time police had responded to a domestic dispute between the two, an officer at the scene said, adding that they had been there several times in the last month.
Neighbors said that the entire block had been taped off in July when police were called for a similar incident involving Bingert brandishing a knife and arguing with his mother.
“Every cop in Queens had to have been there,” said neighbor Richard Hensel. “He had problems, but I can’t see it coming to this.”
Other neighbors acknowledged that Bingert had a troubled history.
“The kid needs help,” said neighbor Willy Bianchi. “The cops were here once before. They knew what they were dealing with. They should have shot him in the leg.”
Police are trained to shoot for center mass, which generally means the torso and head, according to a police spokesman, who said the goal is to stop a threat in the most effective manner.
Neighbor Lorraine Pierre said Bingert had a good side despite his problems.
“He used to help his mother. He planted plants outside the house,” she said, gesturing to a small garden near the sidewalk. Pierre recalled that Bingert once tried to save her 21-year-old son from an attack. “My son got stabbed in Fresh Pond [subway station], and [Zach] got in between my son and the attacker and saved his life.”
Gina Loza, a friend from the neighborhood, grew up in Ridgewood with Bingert and acknowledged that he had an alcohol problem.
“It’s very devastating,” she said. “It was a pocket knife. Several shots for that? That’s completely unnecessary.”
Photo editor Christina Santucci contributed reporting to this story.