By Fred Dreier, Leslie Albrecht, Wil Cruz and Jess Wisloski
DNAinfo.com New York Staff
EAST FLATBUSH — A 23-year-old woman was shot by police on East 38th Street Thursday afternoon after a car chase, and she died of her injuries, NYPD officials said.
The woman, identified by sources as Shantel Davis, had been driving erratically headed westbound on Church Ave., and was spotted by undercover police officers running red lights at the intersections of East 40th, East 39th and East 38th streets shortly before the 5:39 p.m. shooting.
Police pursued the woman, and discovered she was driving a stolen grey Toyota Camry, they said. At the final intersection, she had pulled the car over the double-yellow lines in order to pass cars stopped at a red light, where she crashed into a minivan headed south into the intersection on East 38th Street, police said.
Two officers approached the crashed Camry, one on each side, and saw the driver shift over to the unoccupied passenger's seat and open the door, cops said.
One officer on the passenger's side had been attempting to open the door and enter the vehicle, but was struck and thrown backwards when the woman opened the passenger's door. At the same time, cops said, the other officer had entered the driver's side of the car, with his gun in his hand.
Police say the woman shifted back to the drivers seat after opening the passenger's side door, and had thrown the car into reverse and hit the gas.
But the other cop was already inside the driver's side of the car, police say, and attempted to shift the car back into park when his firearm discharged into the woman's chest.
The woman, who police said had no identification on her, was found on the sidewalk in front of 30 East 38th St., which is near the massive Kings County Hospital, an FDNY spokesman said. She was transported to the hospital in critical condition, but was declared dead on arrival at Kings County Hospital, police said.
The NYPD said they were still trying to figure out what had happened on Thursday night.
A witness said the shooting followed a high-speed car chase between plain clothes cops and the shooting victim. The witness, 30-year-old Hans Mencor, saw an unmarked police car chasing the victim's vehicle, a grey Toyota. When the victim crashed at East 38th Street and Church Avenue, plain clothes cops approached the vehicle and tried to get the woman to come out of the car. She refused, Mencor said.
"After that, it was like, boom!" said Mencor, referring to the sound of a gun firing. "They shot her inside the car."
A woman who works at the laundromat Miss Bubbles, right near the scene, said she had a perfect view of the shooting from the shop.
"She fell on her face, blood was just gushing out of her," said Collette, who would only give her first name. "She got out of the car, fell to her knees, and just fell down."
Hours after the shooting, a woman in the crowd showed bystanders a gruesome cell phone photo of the shooting's immediate aftermath, with the victim laying facedown in the street in a pool of blood.
An angry crowd lingered at the scene of the shooting, confronting police with chants of, "She was a woman, how could you shoot her?" Some held cardboard signs that said, "The killing has to stop."
At East 39th Street and Church Avenue, a crowd of local residents yelled "Murderers" at a group of cops. Some blamed the shooting on an officer who they said was known in the neighborhood.
"This officer is known for being a little rough," said Terease Marzouca, who was carrying a sign that said "NYPD Murderers." She said, "It's a black woman who got killed, that's why I'm particularly upset. Why did he need to shoot her in the chest? I'm very upset about this."
Later that evening, police entered Miss Bubbles, at 3802 Church Ave., and seized both a surveillance DVD and the entire surveillance recording rig, a man who identified himself as the owner told DNAinfo.com New York.
"Why did they remove it from here? It's private property," said the man, who would not give his name.
Police said the woman has been identified through fingerprints records, but did not release her identity pending family notification.