Rameek SmithCause Of Death, Obituary Not Yet Available – During a gunfight in the Claremont district of the Bronx Tuesday night, a man was shot and killed, and an NYPD officer was shot in the arm, according to officials.
According to gothamist.com, at 10:45 p.m., Rameek Smith, 25, was walking at the Claremont Parkway and Third Avenue intersection. Chief of Detectives James Essig, who spoke at a press conference with other city officials early Wednesday morning, said two uniformed cops in an unmarked car approached him on Tuesday night.
Officers pursued Smith on foot for a block and a half when Smith turned around and fired two bullets, according to Essig. The Bronx-borough Public Safety Team officers returned fire, striking Smith in the head. He was transported to Barnabas Hospital and later pronounced dead.
During the altercation, Officer Dennis Vargas, 32, was shot in the arm. According to police, he was briefly hospitalized before being discharged.
The handgun that Smith allegedly fired at policemen was stolen from Richmond, Virginia last year, according to police. Officials claimed Smith’s last known residence was a Staten Island homeless shelter, despite having family ties to the Bronx neighborhood where he was killed.
“It’s time to stop protecting those who perpetrate crimes and violence,” Adams said in a seven-minute statement in which he complimented police officers and chastised those who questioned his efforts to prosecute low-level violations such as turnstile jumping and other minor subway infractions.
Smith was charged with a bailable misdemeanor, according to Oren Yaniv, a spokesperson for the Brooklyn District Attorney, and prosecutors demanded $50,000 bail. Smith was released on his own recognizance by a judge. Following a court-appointed psychiatrist’s evaluation, Smith was transferred to mental health court.
A representative for Legal Aid, which was representing Smith in his ongoing lawsuit, pushed back on the mayor’s characterizations. “Rameek Smith was a son and a father. “His unfortunate and premature death is devastating,” Haskins said, adding that Smith had done everything the mental health court had asked of him before to his death.
“The Administration’s ongoing reluctance to appreciate the scope and advantages of these reforms is shown by Mayor Adams and the New York City Police Department’s unfounded claims that this case concerns bail reform,” Haskins stated in an email.
“Finally, we caution New Yorkers against putting the blame for last night’s tragedy on the Mayor’s abominable fearmongering.” Ultimately, a young guy suffering from various ailments had his life cut short, and despite of inflammatory comments from City Hall, the public should remember that.”