Man Shot by Police in Harlem Shouted That He Had a Gun, Took Shooting Stance Holding Wallet: Officials, Surveillance Video

Police said Cordero had been visiting his parents in the building, despite the fact that his mother had an order of protection against him

What to Know

  • The NYPD is investigating after officers shot an unarmed man in the hip inside a building in Harlem Tuesday
  • NYPD officials say the man was shouting that he had a gun and refused to take his hands out of his pockets
  • When he did, he took a shooting stance holding an object that's now believed to have been a wallet. He is in stable condition

A emotionally disturbed man shot by police in Harlem shouted that he had a gun before pointing an object that is now believed to have been a wallet at responding officers in an exchange caught on surveillance camera, officials said.

Police were called to 234 West 114th St. just before 6 p.m. Tuesday and spoke to a witness who said there was a man with a gun on the fourth floor, NYPD Chief of Patrol Rodney Harrison said Tuesday. 

When officers got to the fourth floor, they spotted Michael Cordero, 34, at the end of the hallway, Chief Kevin Maloney, of the NYPD's Force Investigation Division, said at a press conference Wednesday. 

As Cordero started walking toward the officers, one of them asked him to stay put and remove his hands from his pockets, Maloney said. 

Cordero then told the officers he had a gun, Maloney said. 

"What do you mean, 'take my hands out of my pockets?' I've got a gun. What the f--- do you mean?" Cordero said, according to Maloney, before repeating that he had a gun. 

Surveillance video from the hallway played at the press conference shows Cordero walking toward the officers with his hands in his pockets.

Cordero then pulls his hands out of his pockets before putting his right hand back into his pocket, pulling it out and pointing a black object at the officers while assuming a shooting stance. 

One officer then fired three rounds at Cordero, hitting him once in the hip. Cordero was taken to St. Luke’s Hospital in stable condition. The incident was captured on police body cam.

The black object was later discovered to be a black leather wallet, Maloney said.

Police said Cordero had been visiting his parents in the building, despite the fact that his mother had an order of protection against him.

Cordero had several prior records with the department for "emotionally disturbed activity," in addition to several prior arrests for "erratic behavior," Maloney said. 

He violated the order of protection once before, in December of last year, according to Maloney. 

Police received a second 911 call from Cordero's family after the initial 911 call, according to Maloney, in which Cordero's father said he was afraid to leave the apartment and didn't want to open his door because he feared for his safety with his son outside in the hallway.

Attorney Sanford Rubenstein, who has been retained by Cordero’s father, told News 4 he planned to conduct an independent investigation into the shooting and asked witnesses to come forward.

Residents who live in the building questioned the officer’s use of force on Tuesday.

NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan on Wednesday said the surveillance video from the building showed "how quickly this incident escalated, and how our cops had to make a split-second decision based on what they observed." 

"In my opinion, they acted appropriately," Monahan said. 

The NYPD’s Force Investigation Division is investigating the incident.

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