While making a narcotics arrest, two undercover police officers were surprised when they turned to find a man carrying what appeared to be a Glock 19 semiautomatic pistol, according to police. It was around 10:45 p.m. when Santos exited a black livery cab on Gates Avenue, which immediately left the scene, and approached the arrest in progress brandishing a gun.
Witnesses say that after the officers showed their badges to Victor Santos, the 42-year-old gunman, one of the officers then fatally shot him five times. It was later discovered that his Glock 19 was actually a Walther CP99, a compressed air pistol.
Florencio Susano, owner of Susano's Pizzeria at the northeast corner of the intersection, was getting ready to close up shop when he heard the shooting.
“I heard about three or four, but I didn't think it was gunshots because it was kind of muffled,” Susano explained.
Santos had 39 arrests on his record including robbery, criminal possession of a weapon and assault; spanning from New York to Miami.
Susano has only been in the Ridgewood for a year, and says that while “a lot of stuff happens around here,” he does feel safe in the neighborhood.
“Thirty-nine times he was arrested? That's a lot,” he said. “If the cops shoot at you, they gotta protect themselves. If you don't do nothing, they're not gonna shoot you.”
Susano slept on the pizzeria floor that night because he couldn't get to his car, which was parked within the crime scene boundaries. “The cops were at my house yesterday because they ran my plates,” he said.
Pablo Cruz, a Ridgewood resident of five years, said the intersection was still roped off when he walked by on his way home from work around 4 a.m.
“I feel safe in this area, but not as much as a couple blocks down by Wyckoff,” Cruz said of the neighboring community of Bushwick. “The bars are what causes all the trouble. They're always drunk and trying to starts fights.”
According to investigators, Nolan Rivera, the 33-year-old man who was being arrested in a buy-and-bust operation at the time of the shooting was uninjured, however he was brought to Wyckoff Hospital for observation after swallowing crack cocaine.