Man With Toy Gun Shot Dead by Police

Suspect's grieving Dad, "I can't blame the officer"

Tuesday, Mar 9, 2010  |  Updated 10:08 AM EDT
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Deadly Shooting Near Brooklyn School

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Police released this image of the fake pistol.

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Deadly Shooting Near Brooklyn School

The gun that the man was waving... turned out to be fake. But by the time police found out, it was too late. A deadly shooting near a Brooklyn school that didn't have to happen. John Noel reports.
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Cops shot and killed a 22-year-old man who pointed what turned out to be a fake gun at officers in Brooklyn.

The father of the slain suspect is devastated by the loss of his son, identified as George D'Amato Jr., but says he can't blame the officer who shot him.

"I am retired law-enforcement myself. I know what it's like," George D'Amato Sr. told The New York Post. "I can't blame the officer. He did what he had to do."

The dead man's mother was less forgiving.

"He was a baby, he was somebody's son, he was somebody's brother, and somebody thought it was a great idea to shoot that many times in a yard," the grieving woman cried to reporters from behind a closed screen door at her home.

Officers said they received a 911 call about a man brandishing a gun near PS 194 in Sheepshead Bay on Monday afternoon. When the first cop arrived at the scene, the younger D'Amato pointed the gun at him and refused to drop it, law enforcement officials said.

The NYPD said the officer discharged three rounds, striking the suspect.

The wounded man was taken to Coney Island Hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after 4 p.m. Sources said he was not a student and it is still unclear why he was brandishing the toy pistol.

Police sources told the Daily News the cop involved in the shooting has been on the force less than two years, but they also stood behind his actions. The gun looked real, and the man waving it around refused to drop it upon the orders of police, they pointed out.

D'Amato had one prior arrest last month for criminal mischief and possession of burglary equipment.

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