A robbery suspect, an 18-year-old teen, was shot 14 times and killed after pointing a pellet gun at police. His violent death has raised questions about why officers unleashed a barrage of bullets on the teen rather than simply trying to deter him from fleeing.
According to authorities, Sergio Reyes walked into a Brooklyn deli and stole two six-packs of Corona beer at gunpoint. A store employee said he left the store without paying for the beer. The teen then returned shortly to take more beer.
Police said they arrived at the scene after receiving reports of an armed robbery at around 12:40 a.m. Three officers began interviewing witnesses inside the store, according to NYPD Chief of Patrol Terence Monahan. “He … put a gun to my face and threatened to kill me,” said a store employee describing Reyes’ behavior. “I told him he was on camera and he got scared and ran off. A little while later I heard the gunshots fired down the block.”
Law enforcement said they spotted Reyes walking down the street. He had fled shortly before two plainclothes officers and a sergeant arrived. Police said they ordered the high schooler to stop before he pointed the realistic-looking pellet gun at them. Upon seeing the black firearm, police fired multiple shots at the suspect.
“The officers gave verbal commands [to drop the weapon],” Monahan said. “The suspect had a black firearm in his hand and raised it towards the officers.”
Officials said Reyes was pronounced dead after being taken to Woodhull Medical Center. They found the pellet gun near the teen’s body. Reyes’ family is seeking answers about why police officers fired so many shots at him.