Thursday, October 4, 2012

Police Fatally Shoot Driver During Queens Traffic Stop

Police say they are investigating after the driver of a car was fatally shot by an Emergency Service Unit detective this morning during a traffic stop on the Grand Central Parkway near LaGuardia Airport.

The shooting happened just after 5 a.m. near Exit 7 on the eastbound side of the busy stretch.

Friends identified the shot driver as Noel Polanco, 22, of LeFrak City, Queens and say he was a member of the New York Army National Guard.

Police have not confirmed the driver's identity.

Authorities say a black Honda Fit Hybrid was driving erratically and cut off two unmarked ESU vehicles.

Officers then pulled the car over, according to police, and a uniformed ESU sergeant and detective approached the vehicle.

Sources tell NY1 the driver reached under his seat.

The detective then fired one shot, hitting the driver in the stomach.

The driver was brought to New York Hospital Queens and declared dead.

No weapon was recovered from inside the car although sources say a small drill was found.

Two female passengers from LeFrak City were also in the vehicle, and police say one of them was arguing with the driver to slow down and then stop for the police.

Co-workers of Polanco say he worked part-time at a car dealership and an Astoria bar called The Ice Lounge, and that the two passengers were a bartender at the bar and an off-duty police officer.

Polanco was driving the two women home from the bar at the time of the shooting, according to the co-workers.

According to the Associated Press, police believe the driver and his two passengers had been drinking, but a friend of Polanco says that the driver was sober.

Friends say Polanco was a gentle man who was not armed.

"He never carries a gun. He's a military guy, he was leaving in two weeks again, he was about to go active again," said Tito Cordero, a friend of Polanco. "There's no negative on this kid."

The detective who shot the driver has no other shootings on his record, according to the NYPD.

Due to the investigation, two eastbound lanes of the Grand Central Parkway were closed but have since reopened.

By: NY1 News

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