Updated 12/10/2008 10:48 PM
Bronx Family Says Police Used 'Unnecessary Force'
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The family of a man fatally shot by officers in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx late Tuesday night are speaking out, saying unnecessary force was used.
Police say a plainclothes officer shot and killed a man who was swinging at officers with a baseball bat.
Police were sent to 2710 Bainbridge Avenue in Kingsbridge around 11:45 p.m. yesterday after getting reports of a man with a gun.
When officers arrived, they found a violent dispute on the fifth floor.
According to the New York City Police Department, officers tried to get the man, who was identified by his wife as 40-year-old Alex Figueroa, to drop the bat, but, when Figueroa refused, police shot him once in the chest. Figueroa died in surgery at St. Barnabas Hospital.
Neighbors who heard the commotion, stayed inside their apartments.
"No matter what they could have used bodily force to get at him, to grab the bat, grab at him," said one neighbor. "I think that more force of men to physically hold instead of having to use their gun so quickly, I think that would have been more appropriate. This is a quiet building."
Rodriguez claims her husband did not have to die. She says he was not a threat to police at all.
"He didn't do anything," said Rodriguez. "The cops said, 'don't move.' And then they shot him."
Police released a photo of a baseball bat they say was recovered at the scene.
Rodriguez disputes the fact that a baseball bat was involved. Instead, she says her husband was holding a two-foot long stick.
"No baseball bat. That's a lie," she said.
Rodriguez says the incident started when her husband went upstairs to confront a neighbor about an insult to his stepdaughter.
Figueroa's wife claims that the officers fled the scene without calling paramedics and that her daughter was the one who called 911.
The officers involved in the incident were taken to Jacobi Hospital, where they were treated for trauma.