Volume 19, Number 3 | June 2-8, 2006

G-man accidentally shoots Downtown sidewalk

Photos by Tequila Minsky.

A casing from a bullet accidentally fired by an F.B.I. agent putting his gun away was found at the scene last Tuesday after the F.B.I. made two arrests in a bank fraud case.

By Anindita Dasgupta

A single shot was fired in an incident involving federal agents and two suspects last week near Grand St. on Sixth Ave. The shot was not fired by either of the suspects, nor was it fired in an agent’s effort to subdue them. Nobody was hurt, and the only apparent property damage was to the unsuspecting sidewalk.

Federal agents are still looking for the bullet that was accidentally fired by an F.B.I. agent, at about 1 p.m. Tues., May 23 after two men involved in a bank fraud case were arrested, said Special Agent James Margolin of the New York F.B.I. office. “The shell casing was recovered but the actual bullet has not been located,” said Margolin. “The best indication is that it went directly into the sidewalk.”

Captain Anthony Bologna, commander of the First Precinct, said with a chuckle that the gun went off when the agent went to put his gun back in his holster.

The incident took place just south of Grand St., across from Duarte Plaza, in front of the Moondance Diner. Daniela Colombo, a waitress at the Diner, heard the shot ring out. “I didn’t want to go out,” she exclaimed. She saw a large group of people surrounding a white stretch limo, and saw officers searching for a bullet. She remembers that the officers blocked off the street and stayed “for an hour or two.”

Captain Bologna said the suspects were caught in a sting operation. Margolin said the F.B.I. had organized a meeting “with the purpose of making an arrest.” Olushegun Onikosi and Sharon Hazan were arrested in the bank fraud case. There was a brief struggle with one of the suspects, requiring several of the agents’ help in subduing him, which is why the agent had drawn his gun in the first place, Margolin said. About 10 agents were called to help with the incident.

Margolin said that while accidental shootings don’t occur often, that the routine procedure of an internal inquiry documenting exactly how and what happened, is still underway.

“I’m not really at liberty to say much about it at this point, because there is an internal inquiry underway, but by not saying anything I don’t want to imply that there is any sort of a cloud above the agent,” he said. “It was basically just an accident.”


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