Nassau police deadly force incidents

Newsday reviewed civil rights lawsuits, criminal case files, news articles and department press releases to build a log of 35 individuals who have been targets of deadly force by Nassau County police officers since 2001. A department spokesman confirmed that since at least 2006, a period in which the department reports there were 46 officer-involved shootings of suspects, their deadly force investigators have not found an officer's use of such force to be unjustified. Click the icons to focus on incidents by type.

Read more about how Nassau has dealt with the use of deadly force by clicking here.
Showing 35 records
Target Date Weapon Description Outcome
Unknown 8/30/2013 An officer responding to a burglary confronted a bicyclist who fit the suspect's description, according to police. A department spokesman said the officer heard metallic clanking sounds and thought the noise may have been a gun, but couldn't tell in the dim light. "The officer, fearing the subject was reaching for a gun, fired one round at the subject, " according to the spokesman. After the suspect fled into the woods, a police negotiator with a bullhorn convinced a man in a nearby house to surrender. The man did surrender, but police realized that he was not the burglary suspect, according to a news report. Not Hit
Cong Xu 8/14/2013 After an armed home invasion, Xu "did fire multiple rounds from a semi-automatic pistol, striking [Officer Mohit Arora] in his abdomen and fracturing his hip, " according to a criminal court file. Officers fired "numerous" rounds at Xu, court filings state, though it's unclear if Arora was one of the shooting officers. Xu is currently awaiting trial and is facing several felonies, including attempted murder of a police officer. Not Hit
Leo Duchnowski 7/1/2013 Police Officer Jason Collins approached Duchnowski's car, according to a department press release, when the suspect "maneuvered his vehicle in an attempt to flee, striking the police officer, injuring his knee." After Duchnowski reversed his car in another attempt to flee, the officer shot him, according to the release. Duchnowski is awaiting trial and faces assault and drug felonies, among other charges. Injured
Brian Reilly 6/19/2013 Reilly "pulled what appeared to be a black handgun from his waistband and pointed it at the officers forcing them to withdraw their service weapons and fire them upon the defendant, " according to a police press release. Reilly is awaiting trial for felony menacing of a police officer, and misdemeanor criminal possession of a loaded weapon. Injured
Dalton Smith 5/17/2013 Smith allegedly broke into the off-campus apartment of Hofstra University student Andrea Rebello and was holding Rebello hostage when Police Officer Nikolas Budimlic arrived at the scene, according to a police account. Budimlic fired eight shots after he said Smith pointed a gun at him, according to news accounts, and both Smith and Rebello were killed. According to a department source with knowledge of the investigation, the shooting team ruled the shootings of Smith and Rebello justified. Killed
Andrea Rebello 5/17/2013 Rebello, a Hofstra University student, was being held hostage by Dalton Smith, who had allegedly broken into Rebello's off-campus apartment and demanded money, according to a police account. Police Officer Nikolas Budimlic arrived at the apartment and fired eight shots after he said Smith pointed a gun at him, according to news accounts, and Rebello and Smith were both shot and killed by Budimlic. According to a department source with knowledge of the investigation, the shooting team ruled the shootings of Rebello and Smith justified. Rebello's family has filed a notice of claim against the county, which is typically a precursor to a lawsuit. Killed
Andrew L. Howard 9/18/2012 Howard, who was suspected of shoplifting, slammed his car door on the hand of a plainclothes police officer and "attempted to flee with the officer's hand stuck in the door, " according to a police press release, "striking an unmarked Bureau of Special Operations vehicle which had come to assist." That officer "discharged one shot from his firearm striking the subject in the leg and successfully stopping the subject from further injuring the officer whose hand was stuck in the door, " according to the press release. Howard testified in a Grand Jury proceeding that he did not know the men were police officers, that he did not slam the officer's hand in his door and that he did not move his parked vehicle. "The only thing that is going on in this case is police covering their self for me being shot because they know when I do win this case, there is going to be a lawsuit or they can be in trouble, " Howard told the Grand Jury. "I didn't injure anybody." Howard is currently awaiting trial for felony assault with intent to cause injury to an officer and felony reckless endangerment, along with theft charges. He filed a lawsuit against the county in September. Injured
Kelly Baldwin 4/15/2012 According to a department press release, Baldwin was seen with a handgun during a foot pursuit. Cops told him to stop and show his hands, according to the release, but instead Baldwin "does not comply and turns suddenly toward the officers placing them in fear of their safety." An officer fired at Baldwin, hitting him in an elbow. Baldwin is currently awaiting trial for criminal possession of a loaded handgun, among other charges. Injured
George J. Towns 2/26/2012 Towns pointed a revolver at an officer's head, according to a felony complaint. "During this altercation, the male subject was shot and transported to an area hospital for treatment to his injuries, " a police press release states. Towns is awaiting trial for several felony charges, including criminal possession of a loaded weapon, reckless endangerment and assault with intent to cause injury to an officer. Injured
Levy Robinson 1/16/2012 There was an "exchange of gunfire" after officers confronted Robinson, a suspected armed robber with accomplice Timothy Capers, according to a police press release. Robinson is awaiting trial. In a letter to Newsday, Robinson proclaimed his innocence: "I know first hand how police converge on crime scenes and literally discharge their weapons without no regard for innocent lives, " he wrote. Not Hit
Timothy Capers 1/16/2012 An officer responding to a burglary -- in which Capers' alleged accomplice was Levy Robinson -- was "confronted by an armed suspect who began firing at him, " according to a department press release. After an exchange of gunfire, Capers took his own life, according to the release. Not Hit
Steven B. Thomas 10/5/2011 Thomas, who was suspected of robbing a gas station, was ordered by an officer to stop but instead "turned and pointed his weapon at the officer, forcing the officer to discharge his weapon, " according to a department press release. Thomas' weapon turned out to be a pellet gun, according to a police spokesman. Thomas was convicted of criminal possession of a weapon and robbery and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Injured
Dario Guerrero 9/19/2011 Guerrero, a suspect in an armed home invasion, evaded arrest, according to documents filed by prosecutors in court. "Defendant Guerrero hit the accelerator while moving towards Sergeant [John] Lezamiz, causing Sergeant Lezamiz to let off four rounds, " the filings read. According to court documents, Guerrero suffered a gunshot wound to his left thigh. When he was arrested, he did not have a weapon on him, though an accomplice was carrying a knife allegedly used for the home robbery, according to a list of evidence filed in court. Guerrero was convicted at trial of attempted unlawful imprisonment and resisting arrest, among other charges, and was sentenced to six years in prison. Injured
Brandon Pasker 8/29/2011 Hofstra University student Pasker attempted to steal a police car after an accident, according to a department press release. "The defendant then placed the vehicle into drive and attempted to run down the officers who were forced to discharge their weapons, " read the release. Pasker was charged with several felonies including first-degree attempted murder. Records show that he was not convicted of any crime. Injured
Kurt Doerbecker 8/29/2011 Three officers went to the home of 23-year-old Doerbecker in search of a suspect in a possible attempted burglary when, according to a department press release, he "approached the officers in a threatening manner and brandished what appeared to be a 12-inch knife." Officer Shevach Berkovits was "forced to fire" at Doerbecker, according to the release, shooting him in the back of the head. The Nassau District Attorney's office released a report finding the shooting justified. Doerbecker's family has filed a lawsuit. Killed
Anthony DiGeronimo 3/12/2011 Police Officers Paul Lewis and Richard McDonald confronted DiGeronimo, 21, in his parents' house after reports of a suspicious person with weapons. "During this time the suspect suddenly emerged from the room with a knife and lunged at the officers, " according to a department press release." The officers discharged their weapons fatally shooting the subject and he succumbed to his wounds at the scene." DiGeronimo's family has filed a lawsuit. Later that night at the same scene, off-duty MTA officer Glenn Gentile mistakenly shot and killed Nassau Bureau of Special Operations Officer Geoffrey J. Breitkopf. Killed
Jason Beller 3/1/2011 Beller fired at a volunteer fireman who assisted him after an accident, according to a department press release. "Police personnel arriving to the scene confront the armed subject, and upon the threat of serious physical injury, are forced to fire upon the subject, " the release states. Killed
Thomas Moroughan 2/27/2011 After off-duty Police Officer Anthony DiLeonardo shot cabdriver Moroughan, the Deadly Force Response Team justified the shooting. Moroughan "revved the engine, put the vehicle in drive, and began to drive his vehicle directly at Officer DiLeonardo, " the DFRT report states. However, Suffolk County prosecutors dropped assault and reckless endangerment charges against Moroughan, and internal affairs investigators later debunked many of the claims in the DFRT report and found that DiLeonardo had been the aggressor. Although the DFRT had found that DiLeonardo was "fit for duty, " he admitted having between six and 10 alcoholic drinks in the hours before the shooting. Injured
Iyanna Davis 5/13/2010 Police Officer Michael Capobianco shot Davis, who was hiding in a closet when Nassau's Bureau of Special Operations raided Davis's duplex apartment above that of a suspected drug dealer, according to depositions filed in civil court. Capobianco later acknowledged in a deposition that he "fell backwards, " and accidentally shot Davis, who was not the target of the raid. The point-blank rifle bullet went through Davis's breast, abdomen and both thighs, according to emergency room records. The department found that the shooting was accidental, according to a spokesman, although annual statistics the department provided to Newsday show no accidental shootings that year. Davis has filed a lawsuit. Injured
Joseph A. Lima 2/3/2010 According to a felony complaint, Lima "proceeded to drive forward at Sgt. [Robert] Matadero, " who, along with Police Officer Christa L. Dusharme, fired four rounds at the suspect. Lima ultimately pleaded guilty to felony criminal mischief and received a sentence of time served. Not Hit
Roberto Loo-Kung 11/7/2009 Loo-Kung "drove directly" at an officer who had to "take evasive actions so as not to be struck and killed by the auto, " according to a felony complaint. A news article the next day reported that an officer fired a single round at Loo-Kung. Loo-Kung's attorney, John P. Bermingham, argued that two officers fired on his client despite being in "no actual danger" and incorrectly believing that he was a suspect that they were looking for. "Having used unjustified deadly force against an unarmed innocent Hispanic man, the Nassau County Police officers involved created false allegations to conceal their errors, " Bermingham said in a court filing. Originally charged with attempted murder of a police officer, Loo-Kung ultimately pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment and received only probation. Not Hit
Erik Johnson 10/27/2009 Johnson was killed by an off-duty Nassau County officer at a car wash in Suffolk County. "An off-duty Nassau County Police Department detective was utilizing a 24-hour car wash when two individuals intent on robbing him sneaked up behind him and began to beat him with an aluminum baseball bat, " a Suffolk County police spokesman said at the time. The off-duty officer fired on the alleged assailants, killing one while the other fled. Killed
Frank Hernandez 10/8/2009 In an attempt to arrest armed robbery suspect Hernandez, an officer and the suspect were "struggling over a handgun, " according to a department press release. A second officer, "fearing an imminent threat of deadly physical force against his partner fired his service weapon striking the subject, " the release read. The weapon turned out to be a BB handgun, according to a police spokesman. Killed
Antoine Taylor 9/26/2009 Officers in unmarked Bureau of Special Operations vehicles confronted Taylor, who was wanted for questioning in a homicide, at an intersection. According to the Deadly Force Response Team report, Police Officer Keith Rogich stepped out of his vehicle with his weapon drawn and ordered Taylor to stop. "With no rear escape subject Taylor put the vehicle back into drive and revved the engine, accelerating his vehicle directly towards PO Rogich, " read the report. "PO Rogich now fearing for his life discharged three rounds while leaping to his left out of the way of the oncoming vehicle which was now approximately six feet away from him." Taylor was shot in the stomach but survived. He was charged with attempted murder of a police officer. After Taylor filed a lawsuit and in court, two witnesses testified that Rogich had actually fired the first shot from inside his vehicle, and a shell casing was found inside of Rogich's unmarked police vehicle. Also, Taylor's car had a bullet hole in the side, suggesting it was not headed directly at Rogich when he fired that shot, his attorney John Nonnenmacher argued in court. In June, a civil jury determined that Rogich used excessive force against Taylor. Damages have not been decided. Taylor pleaded guilty to felony reckless endangerment and is serving a 15-year prison sentence for manslaughter in the unrelated homicide case. Injured
Gary Spencer 4/4/2009 Police pursued armed robbery suspects Jonathan and Gary Spencer, Isaac Holland and Matthew Romain. "During the pursuit the subjects fired upon the officers and Nassau County Police returned fire, " according to a department press release. Gary Spencer pleaded guilty to felony burglary and was sentenced to prison for 16 years to life. Not Hit
Isaac Holland 4/4/2009 Armed robbery suspects Holland, Jonathan and Gary Spencer, and Matthew Romain were pursued by police. "During the pursuit the subjects fired upon the officers and Nassau County Police returned fire, " according to a department press release. Holland pleaded guilty to attempted murder of a police officer and was sentenced to prison for 25 years to life. Not Hit
Jonathan Spencer 4/4/2009 Police pursued armed robbery suspects Jonathan and Gary Spencer, Holland and Romain. "During the pursuit the subjects fired upon the officers and Nassau County Police returned fire, " according to a department press release. Jonathan Spencer pleaded guilty to felony robbery and was sentenced to 12 years in prison. Not Hit
Matthew Romain 4/4/2009 Police pursued armed robbery suspects Romain, Jonathan and Gary Spencer, and Isaac Holland. "During the pursuit the subjects fired upon the officers and Nassau County Police returned fire, " according to a department press release. Romain pleaded guilty to felony burglary and was sentenced to 8 years in prison. Not Hit
Lerone Copeland 11/25/2008 According to a department press release, Copeland "drove towards one of the officers, causing the officer to jump out of the way to avoid being struck." Copeland intentionally struck a police car, according to the release, and then "drove away, dragging one of the officers whose hand was stuck in the driver's side door. The officer fired his weapon in an attempt to defend his life." Copeland was shot in the left arm. He pleaded guilty to felony reckless endangerment and was sentenced to 11 months in jail. Injured
Lelis Bonilla 3/12/2008 Two officers ordered Bonilla to drop a knife in an Elmont bakery where he had been assaulting an employee, according to a department press release. "The suspect refused, forcing one police officer to use his firearm to repel an attack from the suspect, " the release states. Killed
Steven D. Frick 8/12/2006 According to a police press release, officers followed a car driven by Frick, who was wanted for grand larceny and for stealing a car. After Frick rammed the police car in reverse, an officer exited his car to attempt to arrest Frick. ''The subject made an abrupt U-turn, aimed the auto at Officer [Charles] Johnson and drove directly at him, '' read the release. Both officers opened fire but missed Frick. Though the release reported that Frick was charged with several felonies, including attempted murder, state records do not show that Frick was convicted of any crime. Not Hit
Nicholas Bisulca 8/11/2005 Bisulca fired a shotgun from his porch at two officers who returned fire, according to a news report. Killed
Thomas Hartmann 3/12/2004 Police Officer Karl Snelders would later state he intentionally struck Hartmann with his unmarked vehicle because Hartmann was reaching for his waistband as if he had a weapon. "I think the officers used a tremendous amount of restraint, " Robert M. Turk of Nassau's Bureau of Special Operations wrote in a Deadly Physical Force Report. "They certainly had probable cause and justifiable reason to shoot Mr. Hartmann." Hartmann, who was unarmed when Snelders ran him over, had his right leg amputated after the incident. Hartmann was originally charged with felony criminal contempt but received time served after pleading guilty to misdemeanor resisting arrest, aggravated harassment and criminal contempt. Hartmann filed a lawsuit and according to a police deposition, a witness did not see Hartmann threaten Snelders. And according to Hartmann's attorney, the blood spatters indicate that Snelders left the road to run Hartmann down on a lawn. In a civil deposition, Snelders acknowledged that he had faced complaints of excessive violence and once broke a suspect's jaw with a punch and earned the nickname "The Hammer." A civil jury determined that Snelders used excessive force, and Hartmann collected a settlement of $15 million. Injured
Antoine York 9/21/2003 York, suspected in the armed robbery of a CVS, began shooting at officers who returned fire and killed him, according to a news report. Killed
Kory Ephraim 6/7/2001 Police Officer Dennis Walsh shot Ephraim in the back after a traffic stop. Walsh would later say Ephraim had reached for his waistband, as if he had a weapon, according to a news report at the time. Ephraim was unarmed, but the Deadly Force Response Team ruled the shooting justified. Ephraim pleaded guilty to misdemeanor marijuana possession and got time served. He filed a lawsuit against the county that was settled for $77, 500. Injured
Showing 35 records

Credits: Written by Gus Garcia-Roberts, designed by Matthew Cassella and produced by Saba Ali

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