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Shooting Suspect Squeezes into Garbage Chute to Hide From Cops

By Leslie Albrecht | July 20, 2011 6:36am | Updated on July 20, 2011 8:35am
Police say a shooting suspect on the run from cops hid himself inside this second-floor garbage chute at 175 W. 90th Street.
Police say a shooting suspect on the run from cops hid himself inside this second-floor garbage chute at 175 W. 90th Street.
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UPPER WEST SIDE — A gunman trying to hide from police after allegedly opening fire in a West 90th Street apartment building stashed his weapon inside an umbrella laying in the hallway, then crammed himself into the garbage chute, officials said.

Preston Powell, 30, who stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 165 pounds, was found dangling from the second-floor garbage chute inside 175 W. 90th Street near Amsterdam Avenue around 11:30 p.m. July 13, police said.

"It was good police work," a police source said. "(The officer) had the presence of mind to open the door and actually go in and look inside the chute. He was shocked when he saw the guy hanging there."

Powell had allegedly just shot a 32-year-old man five times in the torso inside the building's elevator, leaving his bloody victim to stumble out saying, "I've been shot," according to a complaint filed in Manhattan Criminal Court.

The shot man remains hospitalized at St. Luke's Hospital, police said.

Meanwhile, Powell scrambled to get away — but instead of running outside the 20-story apartment building onto busy Amsterdam Avenue, surveillance video shows him charging up the stairs with his gun in hand, according to the criminal complaint.

Powell made it to the eighth floor, where he stashed his .38-caliber gun inside an umbrella in the hallway outside an apartment, according to the police report.

Police arrived on the scene a few minutes after the shooting and put the building on lockdown so no one could enter or leave while Emergency Service Unit officers scoured the premises, a police source said.

Powell headed for the second floor, where he crammed his body into the garbage chute, according to the police report.

An officer who was searching the building discovered Powell hanging inside the refuse chute a few minutes later, a police source said. The garbage chute was inside a closet-like space behind a hallway door.

Powell was arrested at the scene and arraigned on charges of attempted murder, attempted assault and criminal posession of a weapon. He is being held on $200,000 bail or $300,000 bond in the Manhattan Detention Complex, according to the Department of Correction website.

He was indicted on Tuesday, prosecutors said during his court appearance. The exact charges against him will be sealed until his arraignment in Manhattan Supreme Court on Aug. 18.

Police said the shooting was likely drug-related. Both Powell and the victim have been arrested in the past on marijuana charges, police said.

Police found a cell phone, seven bags of marijuana and $50 on the seventh floor during their search of the premises, according to the police report.

Neither Powell or the victim lived in the apartment building, according to the police report.

Powell's attorney, Sharyn Henry, said she is looking into whether her client suffers from a mental illness.

Shayna Jacobs contributed reporting to this story.