Bodycam footage released by the NYPD Thursday shows officers' attempts to stop a wild carjacking as an armed thief stole an Audi SUV and smashed his way up Broadway, driving in the wrong direction and barreling into multiple cars after threatening a driver with a stun gun.
In video obtained exclusively be NBC New York, the dramatic footage gives the perspective of the sergeant and officer as they plea and fight with the driver to get out of the stolen vehicle. The initial carjacking happened near West 54th Street and Broadway, police have said. Once he had the vehicle, the suspect plowed into parked cars going north for three blocks as police tried to stop him.
The bodycam footage shows the officers open the vehicle's doors, with one cop getting in on the passenger side. Police could be heard telling the driver to stop because he's "going to kill somebody" with the vehicle, as they wrestled to get him out of the SUV.
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Police had the suspect at gunpoint inside the vehicle, but he was still somehow able to evade the officers and continue driving north. Video from police and witnesses then showed the driver barrel straight into an oncoming car, propelling it backward, as an officer managed to open the driver's side door. The other car eventually spun all the way around, allowing the carjacker to speed off.
Police chased the vehicle on foot, with the stolen SUV eventually crashing into a pole and flower bed just a block away at West 57th Street. The suspect took off on foot and disappeared into the Columbus Circle subway station.
On Thursday, the first images of the suspect were also released by police, showing him enter the Columbus Circle subway station.
A police officer suffered minor injuries during the incident. Another carjacking was reported along Broadway at West 32nd Street at around the same time, where a woman was taken out of her vehicle and robbed by a suspect with a boxcutter. Police have said the two incidents were not related, however.
There has been a tremendous and concerning spike in carjackings across the city over the past few years, according to the NYPD — up 355 percent, mostly tied to an increase in gang activity.
"We have a tremendous rise in carjackings. A four-year rise from 112 carjackings in 2018, to where we stand today, at the end of 2021 — 510 carjackings," said NYPD Deputy Inspector Nicholas Fiore. "Something like we've never seen before. It's an epidemic that's happening. It's a dangerous, dangerous crime to the public. They're taking cars with all weapons: gunpoint, knives, Tasers as you saw yesterday. And they're driving these cars recklessly, without regard for human life."