4 SEPTEMBER 20, 2018 RIDGEWOOD TIMES WWW.QNS.COM
Probe continues after cops fatally shoot knife-wielding woman
BY ROBERT POZARYCKI
Detectives continue to investigate
a police-involved shooting in
Maspeth on Monday aft ernoon
that claimed the life of a 54-year-old
woman who allegedly charged at offi -
cers with a knife.
Law enforcement sources said the
incident occurred just aft er 5:30 p.m.
on Sept. 17 at a home on 69th Street
near 52nd Avenue.
According to Chief of Detectives
Dermot Shea, offi cers responded to
the home aft er receiving a 911 call
about a reported burglary. While
the incident occurred in the 104th
Precinct‘s confi nes, the responding
offi cers were from the 110th, 111th and
114th precincts. They were on patrol
in the area, according to Shea, to cover
for 104th Precinct members who were
attending a Monday funeral of a fellow
offi cer who recently died.
They were met in front of the residence
by the 54-year-old woman, identifi
ed as Susan Muller, who claimed
that another female had broken into a
second-fl oor apartment and may have
been armed with a knife or a razor.
Shea said that the offi cers then entered
the home and, less than a minute
later, Muller came at them while wielding
a knife. One of the offi cers ordered
Muller to put the knife down; Shea
noted that the order was recorded on
the offi cer’s body camera.
“Subsequently, one offi cer discharges
his service weapon three times,
striking the female in the torso,” Shea
said during a briefi ng at the scene.
Police enter the 69th Street home in Maspeth following a police-involved shooting on Sept. 17.
“Immediately aft er fi ring shots, aid is
Paramedics rushed to the scene and
Muller was pronounced dead from her
injuries. No other injuries were reported.
A 10-inch kitchen knife that Muller
allegedly brandished while charging
at the offi cers was recovered from
the scene. Through a preliminary
investigation, Shea noted, detectives
determined that she is the same person
who originally placed the 911 call that
brought the offi cers to the home.
“There’s a number of calls to this
residence,” he noted, “and they varied
Shea stated that having officers
from other precincts covering a
Photo by Robert Stridiron/RHS News
neighboring precinct during police
funerals is a common practice within
“It doesn’t appear at this time that it
had any bearing on the job,” he said.
The NYPD Force Investigation Division,
a unit with the department that
specifi cally examines police-involved
shootings, is handling the case.
Residents quiz CO about deadly shooting
BY RYAN KELLEY
Deputy Inspector John Mastronardi,
commanding offi cer of
the 104th Precinct in Ridgewood,
had only been home for an
hour and a half aft er laying his friend
and fellow offi cer, Joe Simone, to rest
on Sept. 17 when he received the call.
Police offi cers had been involved
in a deadly shooting within his
Yet, no offi cers from the 104th Precinct
were involved in the incident,
in which 54-year-old Susan Muller
reported a burglary in her home,
then charged at the responding
offi cers with a 10-inch kitchen knife
and was shot in the chest by an offi cer,
according to authorities. Members
of the 110th, 111th and 114th precincts
were covering for Mastronardi and
his offi cers while they attended Simone’s
As more details emerged about
Muller on Sept. 18, Mastronardi fi elded
questions about how the incident
was handled during a 104th Precinct
Community Council meeting at Maspeth’s
Martin Luther School. One
attendee in particular posed the
following series of questions:
Did the four offi cers follow the
emotionally disturbed persons procedure?
Were the offi cers equipped
with body cameras, and if so, will
the footage be released to the public?
How many offi cers fi red? Were all
their guns drawn? Why were the
four officers unable to subdue a
54-year-old woman with what the
attendee described as a butter knife?
(It was actually, as police reported, a
10-inch kitchen knife.)
According to a report from
The New York Times, police had
responded to 911 calls at Muller’s
home nine times since 2000. Four
of those calls involved domestic violence,
while three involved reports
of an intoxicated person. In the most
recent call on Sept. 9, Muller was
acting irrationally and was taken to
the hospital for treatment.
Muller’s boyfriend, retired police
officer Edward Rodgers, told the
Times that Muller was “a very nice
person, a very sweet girl, but if she
picked up a drink her personality
While the 104th Precinct may have
been familiar with Muller’s troubles,
the responding offi cers who ultimately
shot her most likely were not.
In responding to the questions,
Mastronardi fi rst pointed out that
it wasn’t a “butter knife,” but a long
steak knife that Muller wielded. The
offi cers were responding to a report
of a burglary in progress, with no
indication that an emotionally disturbed
person was involved, Mastronardi
added. He also said that one or
two of the offi cers at the scene were
wearing body cameras.
The Times report, however, notes
that the body cameras captured the
sound from the incident but not much
of what happened visually. In the
recording, a woman could be heard
shrieking followed by an offi cer yelling,
“Drop the knife!” before three
gunshots rang out, according to the
“Nothing but the best for her and
her family, I understand that she
was going through a lot of turmoil,”
Mastronardi concluded. “I’m very
happy that my offi cers — because
they are the New York City Police
Department, it doesn’t matter if
they were the 104th Precinct or not
— they did an excellent job and I’m
glad they’re OK.”