- The Washington Times - Friday, December 11, 2009

NEW YORK | A plainclothes police sergeant chased a purported scam artist through sidewalks crowded with holiday shoppers and tourists Thursday in the heart of Times Square, killing the suspect near a landmark Broadway hotel after a gunfight that shattered box office and gift shop windows, police said.

No one else was injured. The sergeant fired a total of four times. Raymond Martinez was hit in the chest and arm.

Mr. Martinez, 25, and his brother were trying to dupe tourists into buying CDs and movies along Broadway and 46th Street just before noon when he was recognized by the sergeant who runs a task force that monitors aggressive panhandling, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.

The officer asked them for their tax identification, which allows peddlers to sell on the streets. But Mr. Martinez took off running, reaching the Marriott Marquis hotel’s passenger drop-off area, Mr. Kelly said.

The sergeant pursued, and Mr. Martinez turned and fired with a stolen Mac-10 machine pistol that held 30 rounds; he got off two shots before it jammed, police said. The officer fired four times, striking the suspect in the chest and arm and killing him, Mr. Kelly said.

“We’re lucky the weapon jammed,” Mr. Kelly said.

The commissioner said the shooting preliminarily appeared to be within department guidelines, which allow for deadly force when an officer’s life is threatened.

Dave Kinahan, a tourist from Boston, was parking his car in a spot below street level at the hotel when he saw one man shooting another. “I was 20 yards away,” he said. He said he thought, “Is this real or this a movie?”

The hotel is in the Broadway theater district in the heart of Times Square. The Marquis Theatre, where “White Christmas” is now playing, is in the hotel. Bullets from the gunfight shattered the window of the Broadway Baby gift shop and a side window of the box office on the street.

Duncan Stewart, a Broadway casting director for National Artists Management Co., has a 12th-floor office that overlooks Times Square. He said he was on the phone when he heard three loud pops.

Mr. Stewart has worked in Times Square for the past three years. He has gotten used to seeing the weird and wacky, but almost never anything violent.

“It’s bizarre. It’s one thing to see the Naked Cowboy day after day in Times Square, but a shooting is something different altogether,” he said.

Mr. Martinez’s brother was in police custody.

Police say the two were working a scam in which they would approach tourists, ask them their names, then write their names on the CDs and movies and demand payment of $10.

Mr. Martinez had been wanted for assault in the Bronx. The gun he used in the shooting was reported stolen in Richmond, Va., on Oct. 28, police said.

He also had with him several business cards from gun dealers there, but it’s not clear whether he was also selling weapons, police said.

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