Volume 73, Number 45 | March 10 -16, 2004

CITY/CRIME



Police Blotter

Picked wrong victim
A man who tried a gunpoint robbery of an off-duty federal security agent who was visiting his mother in the Jacob Riis Houses failed when his victim shot and seriously injured him shortly before midnight on Thurs. March 4.

Police said the suspect, Montelle Emerson, 31, of 248 Vernon Ave., Brooklyn, pointed a .38-caliber handgun at the agent in the lobby of 176 Avenue D and demanded money. The agent, identified as Jose Espinal, assigned to the New York field office of the State Department Bureau of Diplomatic Security, threw his wallet to the floor and when the suspect went to pick it up, the two exchanged several shots, according to reports.

The agent called for help and the suspect was taken to Bellevue Hospital in serious condition with gunshot wounds in the torso. The agent was treated for powder burns on his face at Beth Israel Hospital and released. Police found a .38-caliber handgun on the lobby floor. Emerson had three felony convictions in the past 15 years, one for robbery and two for criminal possession of a weapon. He was last released from prison in October after serving six years on a weapons charge, according to law enforcement officials.


N.Y.U. student dies
Diana Chien, 19, a freshman in New York University College of Arts and Sciences, fell to her death, an apparent suicide, on Sat., Feb. 6 from the roof of 990 Sixth Ave., at 36th St., where she lived in an off-campus studio apartment. Police said there was no evidence of criminality. She was taken to Bellevue where she was pronounced dead at 6:27 p.m.

Chien transferred to N.Y.U. at the beginning of this semester from a school in California.


Sexual harassment
A woman told police at the 10th Precinct that a stranger tried to sexually attack her while she was in her car parked on 23rd St. near 10th Ave. at 5:30 a.m. Sun. March 7. The assailant, described only as a black man, fled and police are investigating the case.


Sues for Chelsea death
The wife of Ousman Zongo, the African immigrant shot to death by mistake during a May 22, 2003, police raid on a counterfeit CD ring at Chelsea Mini Storage on the waterfront at W. 27th St., has filed a federal civil lawsuit naming the city and the officers who took part in the raid.

Salimata Sanfo and her two children seek unspecified damages from the city, from Officer Bryan Conroy, who fired the shot, and the other officers in the raid. Sanford Rubenstein, Sanfo’s lawyer, had filed a $150 million wrongful death claim with the city last summer as a precursor to the lawsuit.

Zongo, 43, an immigrant from Burkina Faso, West Africa, repaired imported West African artifacts from a rented cubicle on the third floor of the mini storage at 615 W. 27th St.

The officer who shot him, Brian Conroy of Staten Island, had been left to guard a third-floor cubicle where counterfeit CDs were stored, and Zongo, who spoke little English, ran into him shortly before 4 p.m. as he emerged from his workshop. Conroy has said he believed Zongo was a member of the counterfeit group.

Zongo was not connected with the gang involved in the sale of counterfeit CDs, police said. The first floor of the mini storage facility had become a marketplace where African traders, many from Burkina Faso, offered tribal art for sale. Zango made his living repairing art objects that had been damaged in transit.

Barbara Thompson, a spokesperson for District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau, said the case is under investigation and will be presented to a grand jury. She would not say when the grand jury would hear the case.


Chelsea sandwich
Police arrested two suspects on Sun. March 7 and charged them with a holdup at a Subway sandwich shop at 156 W. 29th St. just east of Seventh Ave. Kenney Moore, 43, and Lawrence Valerie, 42, were apprehended by police patrolling the neighborhood.


Break shul window
An employee of Mesivtha Tifereth Jerusalem, the synagogue at 145 E. Broadway between Pike and Rutgers Sts., heard the sound of breaking glass at 3:30 p.m. Sun., March 7, and discovered the window of the front door broken. Police said an unknown suspect used a metal object to break the window and are investigating the case as a possible bias incident.

Albert Amateau


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