Early Morning Shoot-Out on Lower East Side

GunThe police say this is the gun that Luis Martinez fired at two police officers early this morning. N.Y.P.D.

If you were wondering why those helicopters were hovering around the neighborhood early this morning here’s your answer: two police officers narrowly avoided being shot while chasing a man down Columbia Street into the Baruch Houses.

The police said that 25-year-old Luis Martinez opened fire on Officers Thomas Richards and Thomas Dunne at around 1:45 a.m. as the pair approached him on Columbia Street between Delancey and Rivington Streets. One of the shots struck Officer Richards’s spare ammunition magazine holstered to his gun belt, just missing his abdomen.

“It was a very close call for Officer Richards,” Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said in a statement. “The magazine may have well saved his life.”

The officers continued the pursuit down Rivington Street towards Baruch Drive, exchanging gunfire two more times. During the gun battle Mr. Martinez was struck in his right leg and fled into 64 Baruch Drive. Officers followed the trail of blood to his sixth-floor apartment and arrested Mr. Martinez without further trouble. Investigators found the 9-millimeter pistol Mr. Martinez allegedly used discarded in a trash compactor in the building. He is in stable condition at Bellevue Hospital.

Both officers were released from Bellevue and received a visit from Mr. Kelly at the Public Service Area 4 station house on Avenue C this morning.

PO RICHARDSN.Y.P.D. Officer Thomas Richards
PO DUNNEN.Y.P.D. Officer Thomas Dunne