THE BRONX — A suspect wanted for robbing senior citizens fell to his death from a fire escape when he mistakenly believed that a swarm of lawmen searching for gang members early Wednesday morning were after him, sources told DNAinfo New York.
The 21-year-old man, whose name was withheld, was hiding out in a building on East 236th Street when federal agents and NYPD officers showed up around 6 a.m. looking for one of more than 120 suspects wanted in a massive gang investigation.
The officers marched up to a fifth floor apartment and found the man they were looking for.
But as they were leading him out in handcuffs, fellow agents and officers spotted the 21-year-old on a fire escape where he apparently was trying to flee. They ordered him to come down.
Instead, he headed up a few flights and, apparently by coincidence, started to climb into fifth floor apartment the federal agents and officers were leaving.
Hearing the commotion, two agents entered the bedroom where they spotted the man. They started yelling to him to “come back in,” but suddenly he “dropped out of sight,” plunging to his death, sources said.
According to sources, on a different occasion a team of officers from the NYPD Warrant Squad visited the building recently to try to arrest the man for five box cutter robberies of elderly people in the area. But he managed to escape by climbing out the window and fleeing down a fire escape.
Authorities believe he returned to the neighborhood thinking the hunt for him had died down, and when he saw the officers Wednesday morning he mistakenly thought they were back for him.
The suspect's name was being withheld pending notification of his family.