Cops hunt man involved in Astoria shootout

Cops hunt man involved in Astoria shootout
By Joe Anuta

Cops were still hunting Friday for a suspect involved in a wild Astoria pursuit the night before, police said, where shots were fired, an was officer struck by a truck and the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge was shut down to prevent the man’s escape into Manhattan.

At about 8:50 p.m. officers spotted a black Ford pickup truck with Florida plates near the corner of Broadway and Crescent Street in Astoria that had been reported stolen and linked to an earlier alleged robbery nearby, the NYPD said.

When a few of the City’s Finest attempted to pull the driver over, the motorist opened fire, according to a report in the New York Post, when officers returned fire he sped off, striking one cop in the process, police said.

Neighbors said they heard shots ring out before police descended on the area.

Ignacio Romero is a manager at the Trade Fair supermarket on the corner, and said the police put the 24-hour store on lockdown soon after the incident.

The man eventually ditched his truck farther south near the corner of 24th Street and 37th Avenue, according to police, before the suspect, described as a white man in his 50s or 60s standing about 6-feet tall, weighing about 180 pounds and wearing a brown shirt, disappeared, police said.

The nearby Queensboro Bridge was shut down on both sides for about 30 minutes to prevent any escape from Queens, the Post reported.

Rose Mary Marvilli, who lives near where the vehicle was found, said helicopters were scouring the residential and industrial area, which has lots of hidden backyards behind brick row houses.

“You saw searchlights,” she said. “It was so bright.”

Cops could not confirm a firearm was recovered in the vehicle, but officers suspected the driver might have had a .38 caliber revolver at some point.

At about 4:15 p.m. earlier in the day, a man matching the same description exited the same black truck in Astoria near the corner of Ditmars Boulevard and 79th Street and asked a woman for her pocketbook, police said.

The man got ahold of it, but the woman chased him back to the vehicle and was dragged behind it for a short distance after the man tried to drive away, police said.

She sustained minor injuries, according to the NYPD.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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