Victim in Deadly Harlem Gun Battle Killed by Police Bullets: Autopsy

One fatality during the early morning violence

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Autopsy and ballistics reports show a man killed after a shootout between police and the armed acquaintance he was fighting on a Harlem street likely died from a bullet that came from a police gun.

    Medical examiner spokeswoman Ellen Borakove said on Monday that 22-year-old Luis Soto was hit five times and died from a wound to the torso that pierced his organs.

    She said a single bullet was recovered from Soto's body. Police said the bullet was consistent with bullets that came from officers' guns.

    Harlem Block Party Turns Deadly

    [NY] Harlem Block Party Turns Deadly
    Seven people were shot -- one fatally -- when gunfire erupted last night in Harlem. Two officers were among those wounded.

    While the investigation moves forward, New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg says he has no doubt police officers did what they had to do, under the circumstances.

    "One thing we do know is that somebody brought a gun, an illegal gun and somebody was killed with it and somebody pointed a gun at police officers and they responded. We'll do our investiation to make sure all of the procedures were followed," said Bloomberg.

    The violence erupted around 3 a.m. Sunday, during a block party in upper Manhattan that ran hours past its scheduled end.

    Besides Soto, several others were wounded, including a police officer shot by a colleague in a hail of bullets.

    Police are still trying to piece together events after a block party in Harlem turned violent yesterday morning, escalating into a gunfight that left one man dead and six wounded, including a police officer shot by a colleague in the hail of 40 to 50 bullets, authorities said.

    The man accused of starting the violence, Angel Alvarez, remains hospitalized after being shot at least 20 times, his attorney and family told NBCNewYork.
        
    The gunfire erupted at about 3 a.m. Sunday in Harlem, where Alvarez and Soto had been arguing over a girl, police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.

    Police sources said that Alvarez chased Soto, punched him and slammed him to the ground but then Soto pulled out a gun and may or may not have gotten a shot off. Then Alvarez wrestled the gun from Soto and shot at him, the sources said, adding that Alvarez then turned towards the cops and fired one or two shots.
        
    Five officers responded to the scene, and the gunman fired at them, Kelly said. Four of the five officers fired back, in a barrage of more than three dozen shots. The gunman was hit multiple times and later was hospitalized in critical but stable condition, police said.
        
    Two of the officers were shot. Officer Michael Tedeschi was shot in the chest area, but the bullet, which came from another officer's gun, hit his bullet-resistant vest.
        
    When asked how one officer could have ended up in another's line of fire, police spokesman Paul Browne attributed it to the confusion of the event.
        
    "Officers were converging from different units in a tumultuous situation," he said.
        
    Tedeschi, 36, was expected to fully recover. The other shot officer, Alfredo Vargas, 28, was hit in a hand and was expected to be fine.
        
    Three other people were hospitalized in stable condition with gunshot wounds. Two other officers suffered minor injuries.

    Alvarez was reportedly struck by 23 bullets total -- which may be a record for surviving. His family said he's been wrongly accused.

    His attorney, John Carney says,"According to the doctors I talked to and the medical examiners we've spoken to, this is the first time anybody's ever survived 23 gunshot wounds. It's a miracle that he's alive."

    "I don’t believe that my brother had a weapon on him, the suspect's sister, Christina Creer told NBCNewYork.  "He’s not that type of person to carry a weapon outside on the streets.  He had no access to weapons, he’s just not that type of guy," she said.
     

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