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'It Was Me,' Retired NYPD Officer Says After Shooting Man in Head, DA Says

By  Trevor Kapp and Aidan Gardiner | March 8, 2017 11:49am 

 Armored vehicles and police in bullet-proof vests converged on 185 Greenpoint Ave. Monday afternoon.
Armored vehicles and police in bullet-proof vests converged on 185 Greenpoint Ave. Monday afternoon.
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DNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg

BROOKLYN — A retired NYPD officer involved in a tense standoff with police after shooting his Greenpoint neighbor in the head said, "It was me" as he threatened an approaching lieutenant with his gun, prosecutors said.

The suspect, Gene Barrett, 51, shot Joseph Stepinski, 45, who is the boyfriend of the manager of his building at 185 Greenpoint Ave., as part of a longstanding feud, police said.

The violence erupted Monday about 2:30 p.m. when Barrett, who served with the NYPD from August 1993 until he retired on a disability pension in August 2002, shot Stepinski outside their shared address, police said.

The gunman then rummaged through Stepinski's pockets before going into the victim's apartment, according to the criminal complaint.

Barrett then walked to the window, pulling out a silver handgun, and menaced Lt. Minh Chau Hong as the officer approached the building, prosecutors said. That's when the lieutenant heard him say, "It was me," prosecutors said.

The standoff ended about 4:30 p.m. when police convinced Barrett to surrender to them peacefully, officials said.

He was arrested and charged with attempted murder, police said. He was arraigned Tuesday and is being held on Rikers Island until his next court date on Friday, records show.

Stepinski, meanwhile, was taken to Bellevue Hospital with life-threatening injuries, police said. He was still on life support Wednesday morning, though may be taken off it Thursday, his family said.

"We're really shaken up. He was the youngest of all [the siblings]. He's the baby out of the family," said Larry Stepinski, the victim's cousin. "Out of all my cousins — I've got so many — he's the youngest one and he's the one to go first."