A 28-year-old man was shot by a police officer inside a Harlem park Thursday afternoon following a struggle and a failed attempt to arrest him, authorities said.
The man, who was not identified, was shot in his upper chest inside Marcus Garvey Park on Fifth Avenue and 120th Street just around 1 p.m., Chief of Patrol James O’Neill said.
The 39-year-old cop was on patrol alone when the man approached him, O’Neill said.
“As he’s walking up the footpath to the top of the park he’s accosted by a male,” he said. “There’s a struggle.”
The officer then Maced the man and tried to handcuff him, O’Neill said. But the man got away and ran down the path.
The officer chased him more than 160 feet before the pair started to struggle again. The officer shot once, O’Neill said, striking the man in his upper chest.
No weapon was recovered, O’Neill said.
A bag and drug paraphernalia were both recovered nearby, said NYPD spokesman Stephen Davis. The area is a known drug location and it was not immediately clear if the items belonged to the victim.
A few hours later the quiet neighborhood had gone back to normal with people walking through the leafy park and sitting on benches.
Sitting on a nearby bench, Eidesha Manigault, an off-duty Parks Department cleaner, recalled a heated confrontation with the officer and the man.
“It’s a shock to me — broad daylight,” said Manigault, 31. “You know it was two men up there cause they were yelling back and forth to each other.”
Kimberly Witcher, who lives in the area, said she heard the officer and the man yelling at each other about a gun.
Witcher said that area of the park doesn’t have any benches or play equiptment and many people smoke marijuana there.
“There’s nothing to do up there,” Witcher said. “The only thing up there you do is get high. It’s just a sad situation.”
The 28-year-old man was taken to Harlem Hospital Center where is in stable condition, Davis said.
The officer, who suffered minor injuries to his face, was taken to St. Luke’s hospital, police said.