NEW YORK — Two undercover narcotics officers fatally shot two reputed gang members after they robbed the policemen by brandishing fake handguns, authorities said Saturday.
The shootings come with tensions in the city still high after the fatal March 16 shooting of an unarmed black man. Police were quick to defend the officers in this incident, which occurred during a Friday night drug operation in Brooklyn.
The dead suspects, 19-year-old Tysheen Bourne and 17-year-old Andre Fields, both pointed realistic-looking fake weapons at the two officers before any shots were fired, police Assistant Chief Joseph Esposito said at a news conference at police headquarters.
The suspects, who were killed in a barrage of 18 shots, were affiliated with the Bloods street gang and had arrest records, Esposito said.
Three suspects remained at large.
The officers were part of Operation Condor, a controversial anti-drug initiative.
Undercover police, although not part of that operation, were involved in the fatal shooting of Patrick Dorismond on March 16. The unarmed Dorismond was shot during a scuffle with an officer looking to buy drugs. The shooting set off angry protests in the city.
Dorismond was the third unarmed black man shot by police in the last 13 months.
Friday's shooting began when police arrested three marijuana dealers. The two officers, whose names were not released, were standing on the street afterward when the five men approached them.
They snatched a gold necklace and a bracelet from one officer and a cell phone and wallet from the other, Esposito said. When they demanded that the first officer also surrender his wallet, he was able to pull his gun and defend himself, Esposito said.