New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly today announced the arrest of Antonio Olmeda, age 53 of Manhattan, in the attempted shooting of two New York City police officers on December 2nd in Jackson Heights, Queens.
“Our officers miraculously escaped injury when their assailant fired at extremely close range, narrowly missing them,” Commissioner Kelly said. “Olmeda’s arrest was bittersweet in that it came this morning as the family of Police Officer Peter Figoski prepared for his funeral.”
On Friday, December 2 at 3:55 p.m., two 115th precinct uniformed officers were patrolling on foot in the vicinity of 76th Street and Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights when they were alerted by a passerby of a male acting suspiciously at the corner of 37th Road and 76th Street.
The officers walked to the location and observed the male wearing a black trench coat with a fake beard, a hat and dark glasses.
When the officers approached the individual, they asked him for identification at which time the male produced a revolver and fired twice at the officers, before fleeing southbound on 77th Street.
The officers pursued the man, but they were unable to apprehend him. The fake beard, hat and glasses were recovered during the foot pursuit. No injuries were sustained by either officer.
NYPD detectives were able to link DNA found on the suspects glasses recovered at the crime scene to Olmeda. Police also identified a 2001 Blue Chevy Venture van registered to Antonio Olmeda. A license plate check of the vehicle revealed a summons was issued to Olmeda’s Chevy Venture this past August in the 25th Precinct.
Earlier this morning Inspector Stephen Hughes, the Commanding Officer of the NYPD Warrant Section, was canvassing in the 25 Precinct near the location of where a summons was issued to Olmeda’s vehicle in August.
At 4 a.m. today, Inspector Hughes observed a van located in front of 323 East 116th Street matching the plates and description of Olmeda’s van.
An NYPD apprehension team established surveillance near the van and at approximately 8 a.m. observed Olmeda walking up and down 116th Street. The apprehension team waited until Olmeda attempted to enter the vehicle. At that point NYPD detectives grabbed Olmeda and took him into custody.
Olmeda had on his person a gun belt with a loaded, 45 caliber semi-automatic handgun and two magazines each containing seven rounds.
A second gun, a snub-nosed .38 caliber revolver, with three expended shell casings in its cylinder, was found in a bag on the back seat of the vehicle.
ESU and the Bomb Squad were summoned to the scene after a suspicious package with wires protruding was observed. The Bomb Squad determined that the wires were attached to a police light package and siren under the vehicle’s dashboard.
A counterfeit NYPD parking plaque was also found in the van, along with a plastic bin filled with approximately two dozen bottles of what appeared to be cleaning chemicals.
Olmeda was taken into Federal custody in 2002 after allegedly carrying bomb-making materials and asking about security at Fort Bragg.
After Olmeda’s arrest in the Bronx in 1994 for patronizing a prostitute, a search of his vehicle then uncovered 25 explosive devices, ammunition, and an Uzi submachine gun.
Charges in the December 2, 2011 shooting are pending.