Updated Dec. 29, 9:37 a.m.
BY CRISTABELLE TUMOLA AND ANGY ALTAMIRANO
A Glendale man has been arrested on weapons charges after he was overheard saying that the officers murdered in last weekend’s shooting should have been white and he wanted to kill cops, authorities said.
A witness called police about 1:40 p.m. on Wednesday, informing them that while inside the TD Bank at 79-55 Metropolitan Ave. in Middle Village he had overheard a man having a cell phone conversation about killing cops before Christmas, and having firearms at his home. According to the Queens district attorney’s office, the witness also overheard the man say that during last weekend’s shooting, white officers should have been killed instead.
The suspect left the bank before cops arrived, but they were able to locate him entering a vehicle near 66-26 Metropolitan Ave., police said. They followed the car, and pulled it over at Metropolitan Avenue and Rentar Plaza for having dark tinted windows.
When the man got out of the car, police spotted a small plastic bag containing marijuana in the front seat and a metal pipe, authorities said.
The witness from the bank identified the car’s occupant as the person he overheard, and police placed the man, 38-year-old Elvin Payamps of Glendale, under arrest, according to authorities.
During a search of Payamps’ home, police recovered metal knuckles, a loaded pistol, a shotgun with a defaced serial number, ammunition and two bulletproof vests, according to District Attorney Richard Brown. One of the vests was labeled as being from the Brooklyn Detention Complex.
After his arrest, according to the district attorney, Payamps admitted to saying that the two officers shot and killed in Brooklyn last weekend should have been white instead of Hispanic and Asian, if the shooter wanted to send a message.
“Today, there will be a wake for one of the two officers brutally gunned down last weekend in Brooklyn,” Brown said on Friday. “We will not under any circumstances tolerate violence against anyone in our community, especially not against police officers who tirelessly protect and serve all of us.”
Payamps was arraigned Thursday night in Queens Criminal Court on two charges of criminal possession of a weapon, aggravated harassment, unlawful use of police uniformed emblem and unlawful possession of marijuana, authorities said. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.
Bail was set at $500,000 and Payamps’ next court date is on Jan. 7.
In an interview with the New York Post on Saturday, Payamps said that the alleged threats were misconstrued and his words were “free speech.”
“Whatever happened to free speech? I was only saying an opinion,” Payamps told the paper.
He said that he believes the witness, identified by the Post as an ex-NYPD officer, “twisted” his words and should be “prosecuted for lying.”
Payamps said he meant no harm by what he said, supports the police, and even planned on taking his 13-year-old son to slain Officer Rafael Ramos’ funeral, according to the Post.
At least six people have been arrested in the last week in connection to threats against the NYPD, reports said.