Crime and Courts

Chief investigative reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.

Gun-Firing Bar Patron Killed in Police Shooting Served in Military, Had 14 Prior Arrests: NYPD

The 30-year-old man shot and killed by police officers during a foot chase in the Jamaica section of Queens Wednesday night has been identified as a Staten Island native who'd served in the military and had a lengthy arrest record, police say. 

Jonathan Efraim died when he was shot by police officers at 168th Street and Hillside Avenue, according to NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce. 

Boyce said Thursday the shooting appeared to be justified and called the officers' actions "courageous."

In a Thursday news conference detailing the shooting and the suspect's past, Boyce said Efraim was visiting his girlfriend Wednesday night and went to a nearby bar at 164th Street and Hillside Avenue, telling her he was going to get some food.

He spent two hours drinking in the bar when he got into an argument with another customer, according to Boyce. The bartender tried to escort Efraim outside, and that's when Efraim pulled out a gun and fired once into the ceiling.

The crowd inside the bar fled, and police officers from the 103rd and 107th precincts responded.

Efraim ran out of the bar with the gun in his hand, and responding officers shouted, "Police! Don't move!" and chased him when he allegedly didn't comply with commands, authorities said. 

As police chased the suspect, he fired twice at the officers, Boyce said. They continued to chase him, and when he turned a corner, he turned around and allegedly pointed his gun again at them. That's when two officers in uniform fired five shots at the man.

Two of the shots hit him in the armpit and in the torso, according to Boyce. Witnesses told NBC 4 New York they saw officers administering CPR on the suspect before he was taken to Jamaica Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. 

Boyce said Efraim had a Glock on him at the time, and investigators have recovered shell casings from the scene. Police also have two pieces of video: one shows Efraim on the street with the gun in his hand and officers chasing after him, and the other from inside the bar shows suspect firing the round into the ceiling with patrons running from the bar. 

Police are continuing to look for other video as part of their ongoing investigation. 

No officers were injured but the two who fired their weapons were taken to the hospital for treatment of ringing in their ears.

Efraim had 14 previous arrests in New York and in New Jersey. He was in the military, though his details of his service weren't immediately clear, and his family told police he had psychological problems.

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