NEW YORK, NEW YORK — A passenger says there was nothing to provoke police to fatally shoot an unarmed Army National Guardsman driving on a New York City highway.
Diane Deferrari said the bullet that struck Noel Polanco in the abdomen narrowly missed her. She said uniformed officers pointed their guns through her open window.
She said the officers were yelling obscenities before pulling their car over near LaGuardia Airport on Thursday.
Deferrari said one of the officers told her, “Your friend shot himself.”
An off-duty police officer, Vanessa Rodriguez, was asleep in the back seat. She was awakened by the gunshot.
Police said it’s unclear what prompted Det. Hassam Hamdy to shoot.
Deferrari said she complied with an order to raise her hands, but the driver’s hands remained on the wheel.
According to The New York Times, Polanco worked at a local Honda dealership and was a member of the New York Army National Guard.