On Tuesday, February 2, at 8 a.m., police received a 911 call of a home invasion in the vicinity of 122nd Street and 150th Avenue in South Ozone Park. The victims were leaving their house to take their children to school, when the alleged perpetrators pushed them back into their house, tied them up, and proceeded to go through their home looking for valuables, according to Precinct Commanding Officer Deputy Inspector Joseph. The suspects took a 42-inch television and made their getaway in a white car.
Police officers responded to the scene and immediately broadcast a description of the suspects and the car. Officers Phillips and Betts began canvassing the area looking for the suspects and their vehicle, during which time a second robbery was broadcast over the police radio. This time a female waiting at a bus stop was robbed at gunpoint. Courtesis said the victim not only provided a description of the alleged perpetrators, but also told officers the type of vehicle and its license plate number. Phillips and Betts spotted the car at 130th Street and Foch Boulevard.
When the officers attempted to stop the vehicle the suspects took off and refused to pull over. While Betts drove, Phillips broadcast the progress and location of the vehicle pursuit. Courtesis said the suspects were desperate to get away and were driving erratically to evade capture in a pursuit that lasted for three minutes, went through three precincts, and continued for five miles. The inspector said that at one point in the chase the passenger in the vehicle began to wave a firearm out of the window in an attempt to intimidate the officers to give up the chase. This didn't deter the officers who continued to pursue the vehicle, and according to Courtesis the suspect with the gun leaned out the window, pointed the firearm in the direction of the officers, and began to open fire. The officers continued the pursuit.
Realizing that he could not shake the officers the driver jumped out of the car and fled on foot leaving the vehicle in gear, crashing into multiple vehicles parked on the street.
Out on the street and on foot, the suspects spotted a homeowner leaving his house. They attempted to push him back into his house, however, the victim had already locked the door and put the keys in his pocket. The officers, who were right behind them, were met by gunfire from the alleged perpetrators. Phillips and Betts returned fire. The suspects fled to the community backyards, and police quickly set up a perimeter. One of the suspects was apprehended in a backyard and the firearm was recovered. Meanwhile, in the back of the suspects’ vehicle police recovered the television that had been stolen earlier, as wel as a ladies handbag in the street near the vehicle. After a further investigation by the precinct’s detective squad, the second alleged perpetrator was apprehended. Courtesis said that both suspects were out on parole.
Courtesis noted that since the arrest of the two suspects, robberies are down significantly in the 106th Precinct.