Wounded N.Y. officer kills armed man at traffic stop

By Herbert Lowe, Staff Writer

A New York City police officer opened fire while he was pinned between two vehicles during a traffic stop yesterday in Brooklyn, killing the armed driver and injuring the passenger, police said.

The shooting happened after the officer, teamed with a sergeant as part of a plainclothes anti-crime unit, struggled with the driver over a gun the officers spotted in a sport utility vehicle stopped about 1:15 p.m. in Flatbush, police said.

The officer, with serious injuries to both legs, and the passenger, who was shot in the leg, were in stable condition last night at Kings County Hospital Center.

Neither the sergeant, who was not injured, nor the officer were identified.

Police identified the driver as Katrell Butler, 28, of Brownsville, Brooklyn. The passenger was not identified.

"A preliminary investigation indicates the shooting was within department guidelines, which permit the use of deadly force when the officer or another person is threatened with death or serious injury," Deputy Commissioner Paul J. Browne said.

Butler, who was shot in the torso, was pronounced dead at Beth Israel Medical Center, police said.

"They killed my child - that's the only story," Butler's mother, Monique Butler, 47, said after arriving at the scene late in the afternoon, at the intersection of Kings Highway, Troy Avenue and Avenue K.

A high-ranking police source provided this preliminary account:

The sergeant and officer were riding in an unmarked Chevrolet Impala when they spotted the Mitsubishi driving through a red light.

Police quickly pulled the SUV over at the intersection, with the officer approaching it from the driver's side, the sergeant from the other.

The officer saw a gun inside the car and struggled with the driver for control of it, police said. The SUV backed into a traffic-signal pole, knocking it over, then lurched forward, crashing into a parked car. The officer was pinned in between.

The officer then fired at the vehicle. Police declined to say whether shots were fired from within the SUV, but said that a loaded 9-mm pistol was found inside after the incident.

Bishal Sharma, 28, lives in a second-floor apartment on Kings Highway, just above the intersection. He said he heard a crash, then gunshots and looked outside to see the officer pinned between the cars, his gun still drawn toward the SUV. The sergeant had the passenger on the ground and was kneeling on him, Sharma said.

Monique Butler said her son was an unemployed father of four children: an 8-year-old girl, twin 3-year-old girls and a 2-month-old son.

"He took care of his kids; I have to hand it to him," she said, adding that her son regularly visited his grandmother in a nursing home.

"I have a 17-year-old daughter that's very close to him and now I have to break the news to her," Monique Butler said.

T.W. Farnam contributed to this story.

Copyright 2006 Newsday, Inc.

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