Queens, NY – A New Jersey police chief is furious after the New York Police Department (NYPD) told his officers not to arrest a murder suspect who is now on the lam because he couldn’t be held under New York City’s bizarre probable cause rules.
The incident began outside the Soletto nightclub in Astoria early on Thursday morning when NYPD School Safety Agent Mye Johnson and her twin sister were celebrating their 27th birthday together, WNYW reported.
Law enforcement sources told the Daily Voice that Johnson’s former lover showed up at the nightclub on Dec. 23 but wasn’t allowed in because he was carrying a gun.
The man waited outside the club until 4 a.m. when Johnson, her sister, and friends left the club.
Police said that Johnson’s ex got into an argument with her current boyfriend and then somebody started shooting, the Daily Voice reported.
Johnson was shot three times.
Her twin sister and her boyfriend were also wounded, the Daily Voice reported.
NYPD Deputy Chief Julie Morrill said the school safety officer, who was the mother of a seven-year-old boy, was pronounced dead at Mount Sinai Queens Hospital in Astoria, WLNY reported.
Today, we tragically lost one of our School Safety Agents, SSA Mye Johnson. The entire School Safety Division sends thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of Mye. #NeverForget pic.twitter.com/Dl8Bl4b13V
— NYPD School Safety (@NYPDSchools) December 23, 2021
Police said the entire incident was captured on security cameras of nearby businesses.
“I heard like five [shots], probably. Like, ‘Pow, pow, pow, pow,’” witness Alex Kyriakides told WLNY.
Kyriakides said that at first, he thought it was noise from the overpass.
“It’s terrible. I mean no one wants to see the loss of life,” he said. “It’s really sad. I hope it’s not a reflection of the neighborhood as a whole.”
NYPD said that the suspect fled in a white BMW and took the George Washington Bridge into New Jersey, the Daily Voice reported.
Just before 4:30 a.m. – approximately 20 minutes after Johnson was shot – Fairview police stopped the speeding BMW on Bergen Boulevard for traffic and equipment violations.
Fairview Police Chief Martin Kahn said there were two people in the car, which was unregistered, had tinted windows, and a bullet hole in the fender, the Daily Voice reported.
Chief Kahn said the officer impounded the vehicle because it was unregistered, and the driver and passenger called for a taxi.
The police chief said Fairview police got an alert about the BMW being wanted in connection with the homicide in Astoria right after the taxi pulled away, the Daily Voice reported.
He said Fairview Police Officer Sebastian Castano stopped the taxi a couple of minutes later in North Bergen.
But Chief Kahn said Officer Castano couldn’t take the suspect into custody because of NYPD policy, the Daily Voice reported.
“The NYPD said there wasn’t enough probable cause at the time to hold him,” the furious police chief said. “We had no choice but to let him go.”
The suspect, whom he said was from Guttenberg, New Jersey, was later officially declared a suspect in Johnson’s murder but remains a fugitive, the Daily Voice reported.
Chief Kahn was extremely angry that NYPD refused to allow his officers to make the arrest when they had them in hand.
“We had this gift-wrapped,” the police chief said. “But because of what the mayor [Bill de Blasio] is doing to law enforcement over there, guys can’t properly do their jobs anymore. Their hands are tied.”
“This guy’s in the wind now,” he added.
Johnson began working as a school safety agent in 2017, WCBS reported.
She had been out on medical leave since July of 2020.