BY BEN BRACHFELD
NYPD offi cers shot and
killed a man who allegedly
rammed his vehicle into a
police cruiser during a highspeed
chase on the Belt Parkway
in Bath Beach on Thursday,
Nov. 11, and then later
pointed a gun at cops.
Police spokesperson Det.
George Tsourovakas confi
rmed that offi cers had shot
the man just after 4 pm, and
dispatchers over police radio
reported the chase, and the
crash. Police identifi ed the
man on Friday as Brian Astarita,
65, of Bergen Beach.
Police spokesperson Lt.
John Grimpel declined to
identify the offi cers who shot
Astarita. “We never release
offi cers’ names in shootings,”
Chief Rodney Harrison
said at a press conference that
the incident began when the
highway patrol offi cer pulled
over Astarita, who was driving
a Jeep SUV, but when the
offi cer approached the vehicle
he sped away.
The offi cer sped up towards
him and attempted to box him
in, Harrison said. Video obtained
COURIER LIFE, N 10 OVEMBER 19-25, 2021
by CBS 2 shows Astarita
swerving to avoid the
unmarked cop car which had
sped up in front of him.
Later, after both the offi cer
and the speeder have pulled
over near the Bay Parkway exit
in Bath Beach, Astarita stands
opposite the offi cer holding
what appears to be a gun, and
the offi cer can be heard yelling
at him to drop the gun. Harrison
said that Astarita pulled
a gun out of his backseat and
began pointing it at the offi cer
and others who had arrived as
backup, and continued toward.
Police fatally shot a man following a chase on the Belt Parkway on Nov. 11. Photo by Lloyd Mitchell
Afterwards, in graphic video
posted on Twitter, a succession
of gunshots can be heard,
about twenty shots in all. Harrison
said the offi cers had
their body cameras activated
at the time of the shooting. Astarita
can be seen in video of
the incident getting struck by
a cascade of bullets.
Video published by the
New York Post shows that the
offi cers shot Astarita while
crouching behind their parked
squad car. Video posted by the
Twitter account NYC Scanner
show the offi cers apparently
begin shooting again after an
extended pause, and shooting
the victim after he is already
lying on the ground.
Cops on scene recovered a
handgun, Harrison noted.
The offi cers can be seen rendering
aid to Astarita before
EMTs arrived. Paramedics
rushed the shooting victim to
NYU Langone Hospital, where
he was pronounced dead.
The incident is being investigated
as a possible “suicideby
cop,” and a use-of-force investigation
has been opened, as
occurs after every police shooting,
according to the NYPD.
State Attorney General Letitia
James announced Sunday,
Nov. 14, that her offi ce was
launching an investigation
into Astarita’s death. The Attorney
General’s offi ce serves
as a special prosecutor in incidents
where police offi cers
cause someone’s death; that
power was initially proffered
in an executive order by former
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and
was codifi ed into law by the
State Legislature last year.
Additional reporting by Lloyd
Mitchell and Kevin Duggan
shoot man on
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