NYC suspect Rameek Smith dead after shooting with NYPD cops

The “dangerous criminal” who was shot by NYPD officers after opening fire – and hitting a Bronx officer – died early Wednesday, authorities confirmed.

Rameek Smith, 25, died around 3:30 a.m. at St Barnabas Hospital, police said.

The shooting happened after Officer Dennis Vargas, who works for the Bronx Borough of Public Safety team, and his partner saw the suspect around 10:45 p.m. near 3rd Avenue and Claremont Parkway, according to Police Commissioner James Essig.

After Vargas, 32, and his partner, who were in uniform, got out of their unmarked car, Smith fled on foot, officials said.

The two cops gave chase, and after a block and a half in pursuit, Smith turned around on Bathgate Avenue and allegedly fired two shots at the cops, hitting Vargas. Officers returned fire and hit Smith in the head, police and sources said.

Sources said Smith was initially stopped because it appeared he was carrying a gun.

Police are gathered at the scene of a police shooting at Bathgate Av and Claremont Parkway in the Bronx.
Police officers gather at the scene where police arrived at Bathgate Ave. and shot at Claremont Parkway in the Bronx.
William C. Lopez/NYPOST

Vargas – an eight-year veteran whose father-in-law is also a police officer – was taken to Lincoln Medical Center in stable condition and released hours later.

“We are extremely fortunate this morning that our officer is recovering after being shot by a dangerous criminal who should not have been on the streets of the Bronx or anywhere else.” NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell tweeted. “NYPD officers are there for New Yorkers day and night – they risk their lives without hesitation.”

Smith’s last known address is a homeless shelter on Castleton Avenue in Staten Island, but he has family living nearby in the Bronx, Essig said.

Warning tape cordons off an area where the shooting took place in the Bronx, New York, on May 11, 2022.
Officials are investigating the scene of the May 11, 2022 shooting.
William C. Lopez/NYPOST

Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell called Smith “a dangerous criminal who shouldn’t have been on the streets of the Bronx or anywhere else.”

He was last arrested in March 2020 at a Coney Island subway station. He was allegedly found with a gun after being pulled over for fare evasion and charged with criminal gun possession, officials and sources said.

He was also convicted of robbery in 2016 and sentenced to five years probation, officials said.

Smith pleaded guilty to the gun case last December and was released pending sentencing, which was twice delayed. He is due to appear back in court in June, officials said.

Mayor Eric Adams called Smith’s case a prime example of why he’s pushing for reform.

“People ask themselves: Why am I cracking down on fare dodgers? That’s why. People want to ask why we did 300,000 station inspections. That’s why.”

“People want to ask why are we pushing for reform?” Hizzoner continued. “Therefore. That’s what we’re up against.” NYC suspect Rameek Smith dead after shooting with NYPD cops


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