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A Gerritsen Beach man armed with a fake pistol was shot and killed during a harried standoff with police Monday afternoon, officials said.
Cops said they got a 911 call about a man with a gun inside a schoolyard behind P.S. 194, the Raoul Wallenberg School, on Knapp Street near Avenue W.
When patrolmen arrived just after 3 p.m., they found 23-year-old George D’Amato, Jr. of Ebony Court and ordered him to drop the weapon they spotted in his hand.
D’Amato reportedly refused to drop the gun and had allegedly aimed the imitation pistol at the officers when one of the cops fired three rounds, hitting D’Amato in the neck, torso and arm.
The Gerritsen Beach resident was rushed to Coney Island Hospital, where he died of his wounds just after 4 p.m.
The officer who shot him was also hospitalized — for trauma, officials said.
It was unclear what D’Amato was doing in the schoolyard with the imitation pistol, which is usually colored red and fires small pellets, as this paper went to press.D’Amato or someone else painted the gun silver to make it appear more realistic, sources implied.
Police said that no children were in any danger since the school day ended about a half hour before the confrontation took place.
A day after the shooting, little information was forthcoming about why D’Amato was walking around the neighborhood with the fake gun. He was, however, seen repeatedly in the neighborhood before his death.
According to published reports, he had taken the day off from his job at Duane Reade so he could “enjoy the nice weather.”
A few hours later, he was spotted in a Sheepshead Bay pharmacy across from the Sheepshead/Nostrand projects, reportedly trying to steal a bottle of cough medicine after he couldn’t purchase it with his credit card. A worker took the bottle away from D’Amato and he ran out of the store, according to sources.
He was then seen inside the Sheepshead/Nostrand Houses taking a “battle stance” and flashing his gun.
A short time later, reports began circulating that he had menaced at least one person with his gun near P.S. 194. Within the hour, he was dead.
“It’s possible that he just snapped,” said one police source.
On Tuesday community affairs cops could be found on Knapp Street informing residents as to what happened. Yet the facts couldn’t control a few rumors that a nearby Timmy’s Donuts was robbed a short time before the shooting.
A high-ranking police source said that they couldn’t readily confirm or deny that the Timmy’s Donuts was robbed shortly before D’Amato was killed, yet assured this paper that if it did happen it was not connected to D’Amato or the shooting.
Over in Gerritsen Beach, D’Amato’s father, George D’Amato, Sr., a retired court officer, was mourning his son’s death.
Yet at the same time, he didn’t blame police for what happened.
“I am retired law-enforcement myself. I know what it’s like,” he told the New York Post. “I can’t blame the officer. He did what he had to do.”
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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