It was a policeman’s bullet that killed a 21-year-old Bronx man in a shootout in Harlem early Sunday morning, according to autopsy and ballistics reports.
Luis Soto was hit five times and died from a bullet that pierced his heart, lungs, and other organs, according to Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office. A single bullet recovered from the body was the shot that killed him, Borakove said.
Police said that the bullet was consistent with those used by the officers.
According to reports, the melee started when Soto tried to pull a gun from his waistband while tussling with an acquaintance, Angel Alvarez, 23. One or possibly two shots were fired, though it’s not clear who fired the weapon or if both men had guns, police said.
Alvarez then got up and took off, firing more shots towards an officer in uniform, who squeezed off two rounds in return. One of the officer’s shots hit plainclothes officer Michael Tedeschi in his bulletproof vest. Tedeschi, 36, was expected to fully recover.
Meanwhile, three plainclothes officers nearby fired 44 times.
Another officer, Alfredo Vargas, 28, was grazed in his hand. Three other bystanders also were hit by bullets and were expected to recover. Alvarez had 21 gunshot wounds and was in stable condition last night. It’s not clear how many bullets that hit him were fired by police.
Spokesman Paul Browne said the NYPD will “await our standard reviews the department conducts for all police-involved shootings” before commenting on the shooting.
According to witnesses, Soto and Alvarez had a long-standing beef, possibly over a woman.