UPDATE: Noel Polanco: Police fatally shoot Army veteran during Queens traffic stop

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What might have been a routine traffic stop turned fatal this morning in Queens, and now a 23-year-old U.S. Army soldier is dead.

Police shot and killed Noel Polanco, a Corona resident, in the stomach this morning in Queens.

Brian Benstock, general manager and vice president of the Paragon Honda dealership in Woodside, told Metro that Polanco had been an employee at the store since July, a porter cleaning cars.  

Adding that he also had a second job, he said, “He was a hard-working kid, doing like everybody else – trying to make it.”  

The NYPD said officers pulled over the car for swerving in and out between two unmarked police cars on the Grand Central Parkway.

According to police, members of the Emergency Service Unit were in two unmarked vehicles when they saw a 2012 Honda Hybrid “driving erratically” around 5:15 a.m. this morning.

Cops said that the driver cut in between the two unmarked police vehicles and was then tailgating another car on the highway, near LaGuardia Airport.

“Unable to pass that vehicle, the Honda once again unsafely changes lanes from the left lane,” according to the NYPD statement.

The police then pulled over the Honda, and a uniformed sergeant and detective then approached the car, which had two female passengers.

Police next state that the detective shot Polanco once in the torso, and he was pronounced dead at a hospital around 6 a.m.

The officer, reported as Detective Hassan Hamdy, is a veteran officer who had never fired his gun.

According to the New York Post, an officer asked Polanco to show his hands, but when he reached under a seat instead, the officer shot him in the stomach.

Officers did not find a gun in the car, according to the Post, instead finding a power drill.

The two women, including an off-duty NYPD officer who was asleep at the time, according to the Post, were not hurt in the incident. an officer asked the man to show his hands, but when he reached under a seat instead, the officer shot him in the stomach.

Officers did not find a gun in the car, according to the Post, instead finding a power drill.

The two women, including an off-duty NYPD officer who was asleep at the time, according to the Post, were not hurt in the incident.

Polanco’s mother told the Daily News that her son had wanted to join the NYPD. 

Benstock said Polanco was an active Army member scheduled to be deployed again soon.
 
“Unfortunately, tragically, his father died a few weeks ago,” from suicide, Benstock said.  

He called Polanco a reliable, on-time worker. “He fit in, and everybody seemed to like him,” he said.  

“No mother deserves to bury a son,” Benstock added. “And it’s always tragic when a 23-year-old loses his life. That’s a tragedy, a guy with his life ahead of him.”  

Recent fatal encounters with police

Eleven people were shot in August when a man shot and killed a former coworker outside the Empire State Building. Police officers fired 16 shots in the tourist-heavy area, and the shooter was killed while nine bystanders were injured by police bullets.

 That same month, officers fired 12 shots at Darrius Kennedy, who was wielding a knife as he walked backwards down Seventh Avenue off Times Square. He died after being hit seven times while onlookers took video.

An officer shot Ramarley Graham, 18, inside his apartment in the Bronx in February after other officers reportedly thought he had a gun. No weapon was found. The officers were criticized for following Graham into his apartment, where he was shot in his bathroom.

An officer shot and killed a man wielding a knife inside a building on West 124th Street in September. Cops said that they shot Mohamed Bah, 28, after trying to stun him with a stun gun two times and firing rubber bullets.

In June, a detective shot and killed a woman in Brooklyn after she ran a red light. The woman, 23, was driving erratically, according to the NYPD, and crashed after running two red lights. An officer who approached struggled with the woman, and his gun fired, killing her.


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