11/27/2006

NY cops' 'friendly fire' sparked barrage that killed groom

By Murray Weiss; Additional reporting by Stephanie Gaskell
New York Post

A doomed young groom was caught in the crossfire of an undercover cop, whose bullets went clear through his car, and confused officers who returned their own blistering barrage, sources told The Post last night.

The blaze of gunfire lasted just 10 seconds outside the seedy Kalua Cabaret strip club in South Jamaica early Saturday. But it ended the life of 23-year-old, unarmed Queens dad Sean Bell, who was set to marry his high-school sweetheart and the mother of his two young daughters hours after his bachelor party at the club.

Dramatic new details of the deadly mayhem include the undercover cop at one point climbing onto the hood of Bell's car - his gun drawn and his police shield around his neck - screaming, "Police! Turn off your car! Let me see your hands!" said sources who talked to some of the cops involved in the shooting.

When Bell then tried to run down the plainclothes officer - twice - the cop began shooting, with some of his 11 bullets piercing the rear window of the man's Nissan Altima, the sources said.

This left the cop's backup unit - which was just arriving on the scene amid shattering glass and the undercover's shouts of "He's got a gun!" - thinking they were being fired upon from inside the vehicle. That's when they returned fire with another 39 bullets. One 12-year veteran, a narcotics detective, pumped 31 bullets, authorities said.

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