Nassau Police Officer Shot and Killed During Queens Traffic Stop; Second Homicide Also Linked to Suspect
A traffic stop in Queens led earlier today to the shooting deaths of a Nassau County Police Officer and a bystander. Authorities locked down eight public schools in a search for the suspect, which was still ongoing by late afternoon.
The shooting took place on an entrance ramp onto the Cross Island Parkway not far from the Belmont Race Track, at about 11:10 a.m., right on the Queens/Nassau County border. It was not clear whether the two shooting victims were killed in the same or separate encounters.
The names of the officer and the bystander had not been released as of this writing. Another Nassau County police officer, Joseph Olivieri, was fatally struck by a vehicle on the Long Island Expressway several days ago.
According to police commissioner Ray Kelly, the traffic stop took place following an accident in Nassau County in which one of the vehicles involved fled the scene. The bystander was found near Hempstead Turnpike with a single gunshot wound to the head, Kelly said. The search for the suspect reportedly focused in Queens Village.
UPDATE: The New York Post has identified the officer as Artie Lopez, and said the suspect shot him and another motorist while fleeing a hit-and-run accident. The newspaper quotes a witness as saying Lopez was shot by the suspect who fired four shots as the officer walked toward the car. Civilians, this witness said, chased the suspect. The suspect, the Post says, then ditched his car, and shot another motorist to steal his car.