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Cops Shoot Bystander in Brooklyn After Pit Bulls Charge, Police Say

By  Fred Dreier Theodore Parisienne Wil Cruz and Jess Wisloski | August 7, 2012 11:59am | Updated on August 7, 2012 8:44pm

A man was shot in the leg at Liberty Avenue and Barbey Street in Bushwick on August 7, 2012.
A man was shot in the leg at Liberty Avenue and Barbey Street in Bushwick on August 7, 2012.
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DNAinfo/Fred Dreier

BUSHWICK — Police shot a man in the leg in Brooklyn Tuesday morning after two pit bulls charged at them while they were making an arrest, officials said.

The victim, whose identity was not immediately released, was shot outside of 68 Himrod St., near Evergreen Avenue, just after 11 a.m., police said, adding that the innocent bystander was not at all involved in the arrest, which reportedly involved an alleged drug bust.

Neighbors had differing accounts of the incident. Some said the 22-year-old victim had been walking toward the house when the shooting occurred and that the pit bulls police claimed were charging them had actually been secured in the yard.

Martin Vidal, 33, said he had been fixing the victim's bicycle, and the man had given it a test ride just moments before the shooting.

"He went toward his building and I went into my building, and I heard three shots, pop pop pop," said Vidal. "When I went outside I saw him on the floor already with the police over him with a gun," he said.

The man suffered a wound to his right knee, he added.

"He was screaming 'Why Me?'" Vidal recounted.

Another neighobr, Issac Holmes, 36, said he was headed to the corner store when a black SUV pulled up in front of the house, and two got out holding guns.

"He gives a gesture, like 'What are you doing?' and the guy starts shooting," said Holmes about the victim. "The dogs never got off the leash," he said.

Moments later Holmes said a green towncar pulled up behind the SUV, and a plainclothes officer flashed a badge.

Another neighbor said the plainclothes cops that were the first to arrive did not identify themselves, perplexing many onlookers.

"They just jumped out, they didn't announce themselves, they were in regular clothes and they just started shooting," said Raymone Beamon, 31.

"My first response was 'I'm calling the cops,' thinking that they were regular perpetrators or some thugs," he said. "He didn't have no weapons, nothing, he didn't reach for anything," he said, about the victim. "He was screaming 'Ya'll shot me, Ya'll shot me, why did ya'll shoot me?'"

Another neighbor, Kelly Green, 27, who said he was outside next to the house when the shooting took place, said the unmarked police car was chasing after a man on a bicycle as it approached the house, and that the unidentified man on the bicycle ran into the house as the officers approached.

The victim, he said, grabbed one of the dogs as the officers approached and told them not to shoot.

"He said 'Hold on! I got her, I got her!' and he grabbed the dog," Green said. "Then they shot him in the leg."

Neighbors told DNAinfo.com New York that the victim spent a lot of time at the Himrod Street house where the shooting took place. Several people said the house is inhabited by a group of men and that the victim often brought his pit bulls, Dutchess and Stoney, to the home. Many said one dog was tied up in the yard at the time of the shooting. It was unclear if the second was indoors or outside.

Some witnesses claimed that one of the dogs was shot and police were seen removing a large animal crate from the house shortly after noon.

"They are a rambunctious crew," neighbor Michael Trotter, 25, said of the house's occupants. "They keep to themselves but on the weekends there is usually a gathering going on out front."

Police were seen leaving the house with a handcuffed man in a white T-shirt and white baseball cap an hour after the incident.

The man, who was shot, was taken to Kings County Hospital, an FDNY spokesman said.

His condition was not immediately known.