Police officers shot a Bronx man early this morning whom they say was attempting to commit suicide-by-cop because he had recently been diagnosed with COVID-19
A police spokesperson says the incident happened just before 4 a.m. Wednesday morning, when they responded to a 911 call about a man with a bloody knife at the corner of Zerega Avenue and Westchester Avenue in Westchester Square. The man, whom the NY Post has identified as Richard Cardona, 55, appeared to be carrying a knife with blood on it and a gun. After officers say they gave him multiple verbal warnings to drop the weapons, they shot him in the torso.
He was taken to NYC Health & Hospitals/Jacobi in stable condition. Charges against the man are pending.
According to NYPD Chief of Department Terence A. Monahan, the man later admitted that he had called in the initial report to begin with: “When we spoke to him in the hospital as to what he was doing, he said he was looking to commit suicide-by-police officer,” Monahan said. “He said that he had been tested for COVID last night, and that he was positive. And that he was overweight, diabetic, and he thought he was gonna die anyway, so he wanted police officers to take his life. We don’t know for sure if he’s COVID positive, but this is based on his take.”
In a separate incident, a Pennsylvania man upset over losing his job due to coronavirus shot his girlfriend and then killed himself in an attempted murder-suicide. NBC reports that the suspect, 38-year-old Roderick Bliss IV, told his 43-year-old girlfriend, “I already talked to god and I have to do this,” before shooting her, then himself. The girlfriend, whose name has not been released, is recovering in the intensive care unit.
Overall crime is down in NYC as New Yorkers stay home in large numbers, and the NYPD has been trying to monitor and educate people about social distancing guidelines—both via messaging on the ground, and monitoring from the skies above the city. Around 1,400 officers have tested positive for coronavirus so far; 6,172 uniformed officers, about 17% of the police department, are currently out sick.
With more than 5,600 cops out sick and over 1,000 who have tested positive for #COVID19, the hundreds of additional officers who were deployed this week will be on the streets keeping you safe. My thanks to every one of them for their unwavering dedication to our city. pic.twitter.com/5rlffSBSQu
— Chief Terence Monahan (@NYPDChiefofDept) March 31, 2020