An off-duty rookie cop chasing a suspected car thief in East Harlem with his gun drawn was shot and killed Thursday night when an officer mistook him for a criminal.
“Police! Stop! Drop it!” cops from the 25th Precinct shouted at Omar Edwards, 25.
As he started to turn toward him – the gun still in his hand – an officer opened fire, sources said.
The officer involved in the shooting is white, Edwards is black and had no visible NYPD identification on him, sources said. It was unclear if Edwards identified himself.
“This is always a black cop’s fear, that he’d be mistaken for a [suspect],” a source said.
His father couldn’t fathom how such a fatal mistake could happen.
“If a police officer sees someone with a gun, you don’t just fire without asking questions or trying to apprehend the person,” said Ricardo Edwards, 72. “If the person was firing at a police officer, I understand.”
“It’s a horror for everyone involved. No one comes out unscathed,” a police source said.
One dejected cop said Edwards “just became a new father. He took some personal time so he could take the baby to North Carolina to meet his folks.”
Edwards’ mother, Natalia Harding, said her son had just married his girlfriend, Danielle Glen, last month at City Hall. They have two kids – 11/2-year-old Xavier and 7-month-old Keanua.
“I’m hurt that they took my son. That’s my baby they took from me. And all I got was his last hug and kiss when he went to work [tonight] and he said, ‘Ma, I’ll see you when I come home,’ ” Natalia Harding said between sobs Friday morning at her Brooklyn apartment.
NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Edwards, who had been on the force less than two years and worked out of a Manhattan housing unit, had left work about 10:30 p.m.
He was in street clothes as he walked toward his car parked about a block away on Second Ave. between E. 124th and E. 125th St., where he saw Miguel Goitia rummaging through the vehicle. The driver’s side window was busted out.
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SOURCE: NY Daily News, Alison Gendar, Erica Pearson, Barry Paddock and Leo Standora