Police shoot and kill man during Queens drug bust

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This air pistol was recovered during an incident in Ridgewood on December 8, where police shot and killed a man who pointed the weapon, which appeared to be a semi-automatic, at two detectives. Photo courtesy of NYPD
This air pistol was recovered during an incident in Ridgewood on December 8, where police shot and killed a man who pointed the weapon, which appeared to be a semi-automatic, at two detectives.

A career criminal brandishing a BB gun that appeared to be a semi-automatic handgun was shot and killed in Ridgewood after pointing the pistol at a pair of undercover officers.

The showdown took place just before 11 p.m. on Saturday, December 8, on the corner of Gates and Seneca avenues, where members of the Brooklyn narcotics unit were conducting an undercover buy and bust operation. After arresting their target, 33-year-old Noel Rivera, another man emerged from a livery cab, pulled a Walther CP99 compressed air pistol, which resembles a Glock, and pointed the weapon at the detectives.

The officers opened fire on the man, identified in reports as Victor Santos, striking him three times in the leg and torso, police said.

The 42-year-old was taken to Wyckoff Heights Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. The officers and Rivera were unharmed in the shooting.

Rivera, who was charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance, tampering with physical evidence and criminal possession of marijuana, told police that he recognized the man from the neighborhood, but did not know him personally, authorities said.

The man had a long rap sheet, with 39 previous arrests from New York to Miami for drugs, robbery, assault and criminal possession of a weapon, according to authorities.

A deli employee who works up the street from where the incident took place said the shooting was unusual for the area.

“It’s usually pretty quiet,” he said.

Clarissa Rodriguez, who lives a block from the shooting, agreed, saying that while she’s seen drug dealers, there isn’t much violence.

“I mean people sell drugs near here, but it’s not like kingpin stuff,” she said. “I’m not really worried to live here.”

A user review of the pellet gun on Amazon.com warned potential buyers that the air pistol — which is illegal in the city — is very realistic.

“Do not let the police catch you brandishing this, it might get you shot!” the reviewer wrote.