Police Shoot Suspected Car Thief After Chase In Williamsburg

By Trevor KappBen Fractenberg and Aidan Gardiner  on October 12, 2012 7:42am  | Updated on October 12, 2012 4:29pm

BROOKLYN — Police officers shot and critically wounded a suspected car thief in Williamsburg on Thursday night after he opened fire on cops, police said.

The mayhem unfolded around 11:30 p.m. after Dahan Sam, 29, was pulled over for having expired plates on what was later discovered to be a stolen SUV, then sped away, police said.

The officers sent out a description of Sam and a sergeant spotted him walking with another man nearby, police said Friday. The sergeant flagged down a nearby police car and directed those officers toward Sam, according to officials. The two men bolted when police approached, officials said.

A group of officers chased Sam into the Williams Plaza Houses at 255 Havemeyer St., where he tried to climb over a fence, but tripped, police said.

That's when Sam drew a 9 mm handgun, police said.

"I heard a bunch of cops yelling, 'Drop your weapon,'" said Danny Soto, 35, who lives in the housing complex. “It was like out of a movie."

Sam allegedly fired twice, prompting the officers to unleash nine shots — seven from one officer's weapon and two from another's — all within a range of 4 to 8 feet, police said.

Another witness from the building said he heard the shooting, ran outside and saw Sam lying on his stomach wearing a gray hoodie.

"It looked like he was in pain," said Aaron Kinard, 24. "He was moaning. They took off all his clothes and were checking his body and legs." The suspect was still moving and breathing when he was taken away, Kinard said. 

Sam was rushed to Bellevue Hospital where he was listed in critical condition, police officials said.

Sam's gun was purchased in North Carolina, according to police.

The second man Sam had been walking with remains at large because the officers chasing him changed course when they heard the shots fired, police said.

None of the officers was injured in the encounter, officials said.

The shooting came on the heels of an annual NYPD report that said the number of times police fired their weapons at suspects remained low in 2011.

The mother of unarmed National Guardsman Noel Polanco, who was shot and killed by an NYPD detective last week, met Thursday with the Queens District Attorney, who has pledged to investigate the 22-year-old's death. 

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