The suspect gunned down in a police-involved shooting in Harlem Wednesday was the one who fired a shot that nearly killed a cop at the scene, police officials said Thursday.
The officer, who was saved by a Kevlar vest, and several other officers shot a suspect in a disturbance call Wednesday night in Harlem. Victor Hernandez, 29, was hit 10 times and died at a nearby hospital. It was the fourth police-involved shooting in New York City in a nine-day span.
NYPD Force Investigation Division Deputy Chief Kevin Maloney told reporters during a One Police Plaza briefing on Thursday that cops from the 32nd Precinct fired 17 rounds after encountering Hernandez, who had gone on a wild rampage in an apartment building on Frederick Douglass Boulevard at about 2 a.m. on Oct. 23.
Upon arriving at the scene, one of the responding officers, Christopher Wintermute, encountered a stark-naked Hernandez, who brandished a 9mm pistol. Both men opened fire at each other, Maloney said. Wintermute was struck on the left side of his chest, in the ballistic vest, according to Maloney, who confirmed that lab tests confirmed the bullet was from Hernandez’ gun.
“The training certainly deals with armed subjects and fighting with subjects, it’s impossible to have a training program that covers all possible scenarios,” Maloney said. “But every time we see incidents, we try to incorporate what we see into the training if it’s something that we see on a consistent basis.”
Hernandez was the superintendent of the Frederick Douglass Boulevard apartment house and had allegedly harassed a neighbor, prompting the 32nd Precinct to respond just after 2 a.m.
Maloney said surveillance footage showed the suspect waiting in the second story corridor with his gun at the ready. Hernandez was in a shooting position f0r two or three minutes before officers came around the corner.
After Hernandez and Wintermute fired at each other, Maloney reported, the suspect lost his grip on the pistol and the two engaged in a struggle for possession of Wintermute’s firearm.
As two more officers arrived on the floor, Maloney said, more shots were fired at the suspect.
Hernandez had two other arrests on record for domestic violence in 2014.
Toxicology tests from the autopsy are currently pending, Maloney said. So far in its investigation, the NYPD has gathered information about the incident from bodycam footage, surveillance camera video and ballistic tests.
Cops said Hernandez’s Ibanez 9mm was purchased from, and registered in Ohio in 2016. Police do not yet know how the weapon made its way to the city.
Maloney confirmed reports that Hernandez’s mother is a police officer serving in a different precinct.
So far, there have been 47 officer-involved shootings in 2019. At this time of year in years prior, there was 27 in 2018, 43 in 2017, 60 in 2016, and 54 in 2015. Of those that have occurred in 2019, 10 “perpetrators” have been killed by cops, according to statistics from the Force Investigation Division, which has tracked this information since 2015.