A 33 year old resident of the Disputed Territories staying illegally in Israel was shot and killed Wednesday night in northern Tel Aviv by an off-duty police officer.
From initial reports it appears that the man was engaging in auto theft at the time and threatened the police officer with a knife prior to being shot. He was shot in the neck, and ran a few yards before dropping dead. The exact circumstances of the incident are currently being investigated by Machash—Dept of Policemen Investigation, the police internal affairs unit of the Justice Ministry.
The incident began at about 1:30 AM, when the MDA (Israel’s EMT) received a call about a 33 year old man who had been shot during a police chase in a parking lot on Yaakov Mark Street in the Hadar Yosef neighborhood of Tel Aviv. The MDA crew tried to revive the man, but in the end, he was declared dead.
The officer that shot him, a local resident assigned to the northern Tel Aviv district, testified that he noticed suspicious activity in the parking lot adjacent to his house and began to chase after two suspects who were fleeing the scene. A struggle ensued between the police officer and one of the suspects, during which he shot the suspect. According to the officer, the second suspect got away.
A large number of police units arrived at the scene, among them Tel Aviv police chief Aharon Aksel, and the commander of the Yarkon region, Brigadier General Yoram Ochayon. A portable criminal identification laboratory was also brought to the scene.
“We are referring to a police officer that was passing by and noticed two suspects breaking into and stealing cars,” explained Ochayon. “A chase ensued involving a struggle during which the suspect was shot. The case has been given over to Internal Affairs. I can only comment that the police officer is considered an excellent officer who carried out his duty as required. Unfortunately, the incident culminated with the suspect’s death. This was an incident where the suspects broke into a house, took the keys and were in the process of stealing the car. I support all my officers, but we will wait for the results of the investigation.”
A man living close to the scene related, “We heard screams and went outside. I took my dogs and heard someone scream ‘God.’ Then I heard a single shot. When I got close, I heard the police officer shout, ‘I shot him.’ The police officer was holding the suspect with one hand and calling MDA with his other hand.”
Last month, a parole board freed Shachar Mizrahi, a police officer sentenced to 30 months in prison after being found guilty of killing Mahmoud Ganaim, a car thief. Mizrahi was freed a month earlier than the date set by the Prison Authority parole board because of an unexpected overload in the prison system.
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