It’s still an active crime scene on Columbia Street this morning, following last night’s shooting spree. As we reported earlier, two police officers and suspect Luis Martinez exchanged gunfire during a chase around the Baruch Houses. People are milling about on the corner of Columbia and Delancey streets watching officers collect evidence. Parents and children on the way to school are having to take detours, since Columbia between Delancey and Rivington is closed to traffic.
A short time ago, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly spoke about the incident on a radio program. He called it a miracle that one of the bullets was deflected by Officer Thomas Richards’ gun belt, possibly saving his life. “An inch either way, it would have been right in his stomach,” Kelly said at WOR. Kelly met with Richards and Thomas Dunne, the other officer.
The ordeal happened at 1:45 a.m. The officers left their police van to question Martinez, a resident of the Baruch Houses. They said he was “acting suspiciously.” A chase and gun fight ensued. Neither officer was harmed. Martinez is hospitalized with a bullet would to the leg.