Suspect in Nassau County Police Officer Arthur Lopez's slaying in custody: Reports
The manhunt for an ex-convict who authorities said fatally shot a Nassau County police officer during a traffic stop ended Tuesday evening with his capture, according to reports.
Darrell Fuller, 33, was found along 175th Street and 111th Avenue and appeared to have two gunshot wounds, News 4 New York reported, citing sources.
A huge manhunt had been launched for the "cold-blooded" killer of Officer Arthur Lopez, 29, and of a motorist on the Cross Island Parkway, officials said.
Lopez, a decorated eight-year veteran who worked in the Emergency Services Unit, was the second officer on the force killed in the line of duty within the past week.
"He is a true hero," said an emotional County Executive Edward Mangano, "He lost his life to a cold-blooded murderer today."
Lopez, who apparently was not wearing a bulletproof vest, had a short exchange of words with the suspect, who shot the officer in the chest, a police official said.
The killer then fled the scene, approached a motorist in another car on the Cross Island, and fatally shot him in the head, police said. The victim was not identified.
Police subsequently identified Fuller as the suspect. Records show he pleaded guilty to attempted murder in Queens and was sentenced to five years in prison.
Fuller was arrested in 2004 and was released from prison in 2009, according to a law enforcement source. He violated his parole in Nassau County and was remanded again in 2010. He was released in May 2011, the source said.
Lopez's slaying comes one day after the funeral of the other fallen officer, a Nassau highway patrolman who was struck and killed by an SUV on the Long Island Expressway on Thursday.
"It's a very sad day here in Nassau County as we just buried Police Officer Joseph Olivieri and we stand here today delivering terrible news to the people of Nassau County, his parents, his loved ones . . . Let's catch this murderer."
Nassau Police Commissioner Thomas Dale said a $50,000 reward was being offered for the killer's capture.
Earlier, Dale said it has been "a devastating week" for his police force.
Dale said Lopez was a volunteer with the Dix Hills Fire Department and an emergency medical technician who started in the First Precinct and joined the Emergency Services Unit in January 2010.
The commissioner said Lopez is survived by his parents, and his sister.
"Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers," Dale said.
In addition to Nassau police and NYPD, federal law enforcement officers from the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and U.S. marshals flocked to the scene to assist in the search for the suspect.
At a late afternoon news conference in Mineola, Chief of Department Steven Skrynecki gave the following account of the double-shooting:
The officer "believed he saw an auto accident" on Northern Boulevard near Queens and observed a silver Honda leaving the scene. Lopez and his partner gave chase as the car "left Northern Boulevard and headed south . . . running on its rims."
At Jamaica Avenue and 245th Street, "Lopez approached the subject . . . There was a very short exchange of words and the subject left the vehicle and shot Officer Lopez in the chest."
The suspect fled in the car on the Cross Island.
The suspect exited the car, "approached a male driving another vehicle, removed that person from the car, fired a single shot," that killed the person and "left him on the ground."
The suspect took that second vehicle and drove short a distance and abandoned it.
A joint task force of Nassau and NYPD officers are looking for the suspect.
"Hundreds of detectives are working on this case as we speak," Skrynecki said.
Because of how close the crime was to the Queens/Nassau border, the offices of the district attorneys from both counties -- Richard Brown of Queens and Kathleen Rice of Nassau -- are discussing who will handle any prosecutions, said Kevin Ryan, a Brown spokesman. Chris Munzing, a Rice spokesman, declined to comment.
The fatal shooting of the officer occurred at about 11 a.m. near the southbound entrance ramp to the parkway, near a Mobil gas station on Jamaica Avenue.
Brandon Ramos, 21, said he was at his father's kitchen and bath remodeling business across the street from the gas station when the shooting occurred.
"As I was walking upstairs, I heard a huge boom," Ramos said. "I ran outside and I saw a cop lying on the floor, on his back, and the other officer was administering CPR . . . He was shot in the chest. He was motionless. The other cop looked really distraught."
Neighbors in Lopez's Babylon Village neighborhood Tuesday afternoon said they were devastated about his death.
"It breaks my heart," said neighbor Narrie Carter, 89. "He was such a nice fella."
Carter said Lopez would bring her apples and apple cider for Christmas.
Another neighbor, Michael Cullen, 51, said he saw Lopez on Saturday and expressed to him his condolences on the loss of his colleague Olivieri, the highway patrolman whose funeral was held Monday. He said Lopez "was so friendly."
"This is just a shock to us right now," Cullen said. "We're all devastated now."
On Monday, law enforcement officers by the thousands came to Long Island for the funeral of Olivieri, 43, a 13-year veteran who was struck and killed Thursday by a passing sport utility vehicle at the scene of an accident on the LIE.
Another Nassau County police officer was critically injured earlier this month when he was struck by a car in Lawrence while cracking down on speeders. The officer's condition has been upgraded from critical to serious, Shelley Lotenberg, spokeswoman for the Nassau University Medical Center, said Tuesday.
The officer, 57, was airlifted to the hospital with a fractured skull, pelvis and leg and internal bleeding after the Oct. 2 accident. Police declined to name the officer, but said he is a 29-year veteran with several awards, including two for saving lives.
Lopez is the fourth Nassau police officer to be killed in the line of duty in the previous 20 months.
Officer Geoffrey J. Breitkopf was fatally shot March 12, 2011, after being mistaken for an armed suspect by a Metropolitan Transportation Authority police officer in Massapequa Park. Breitkopf, 40, of Selden, was a member of the force's Bureau of Special Operations and was shot after a knife-wielding man had been killed at the scene by Nassau police.
A month earlier, police Officer Michael Califano was killed on the LIE when a flatbed truck struck his patrol vehicle during a traffic stop.
With Chau Lam, Robert E. Kessler, Gary Dymski, Robert Brodsky, Anthony M. DeStefano and John Valenti