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Officer, motorist dead in gunfire along NYC border

Officer, motorist dead in gunfire along NYC border

October 24th, 2012 in News

BELLEROSE TERRACE, N.Y. (AP) - A motorist fleeing a possible hit-and-run traffic accident fatally shot a Long Island police officer in broad daylight near the Belmont racetrack and then apparently killed another driver not far away during a carjacking, authorities said. He remained at large.

Nassau County Officer Arthur Lopez "lost his life to a cold-blooded killer," County Executive Edward Mangano said at a news conference.

Lopez was on patrol in Bellerose Terrace, a community at the border of New York City's Queens borough and Nassau County. The officer and his partner spotted a damaged silver Honda that was "running on rims" and fit the description of a car that had left a hit-and-run, authorities said.

The officers gave chase, and the car pulled over. There was "a brief exchange of words" between Lopez and the driver before the driver left the vehicle and fired one round into Lopez's chest, police Chief Steven Skrynecki said, adding the officer wasn't wearing a bulletproof vest.

The shooter got back into his car and drove away, and then accosted the second victim, authorities said. He shot the man in the head, dragged him out of his car and left him dead on the roadway as he drove away, they said. The car later was found abandoned in a residential neighborhood in Queens.

The slayings touched off a massive manhunt that included heavily armed New York Police Department officers going door-to-door in Queens. Authorities also closed the Cross Island Parkway for several hours, causing traffic delays.

Authorities had identified a suspect but refused to release his name.