Harlem standoff: Man found dead after shooting at cops, holing up in apartment, police say

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HARLEM, Manhattan — Police found a man dead inside a Harlem apartment Wednesday morning after he shot at NYPD officers and barricaded himself inside with a woman, prompting a massive emergency response in the neighborhood, NYPD officials said.

Police initially said the suspect was taken into custody, but NYPD Chief of Department Rodney Harrison later clarified during a briefing that officers found the man dead of an apparent self-inflected gunshot wound to the head in the living room. He was pronounced dead at the scene, Harrison said.

The woman who was inside the apartment with the suspect was not injured, according to Harrison.

“We believe she has a relationship with the subject involved. Regarding her role, the investigation is still preliminary … she’s safe at this time,” Harrison said. “We don’t know, exactly, if she was in danger or not.”

A firearm was recovered inside the apartment, police said.

harlem barricade shooting
A man found dead after shooting at cops, holing up in a Harlem apartment, Oct. 6, 2021. A gun (inset) was recovered at the apartment (PIX11 | NYPD)

The ordeal began when officers went to the building on West 147th Street, near Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, to take the man into custody on a warrant for assault, and possibly murder in connection with a shooting in September.

That’s when the suspect suddenly opened fire on the cops just before 8:45 a.m., authorities said. Harrison said the suspect fired at the officers at an extremely close range.

At least one officer returned fire, but no one was injured, according to NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea.

In addition to the large police response on the ground, an NYPD helicopter was seen hovering over the area as the standoff continued.

Negotiators were called in, but over time the suspect stopped responding, Harrison said.

“At which time, ESU was able to gain a visual inside the apartment. The suspect was laying on the ground, dead of what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head,” the police chief added.

Police sources identified the armed man as 23-year-old Antonio Armstrong.

Harlem standoff suspect Antonio Armstrong
Antonio Armstrong died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head during a standoff with police in Harlem on Oct. 6, 2021, NYPD officials said. (Credit: Source)

According to sources, officers were investigating Armstrong in connection with a Sept. 13 shooting nearby on West 139th Street that left a man dead from a gunshot wound to the head.

Police identified the victim in that shooting as 24-year-old Menkie Woodard-Collins.

Armstrong had at least seven prior arrests in connection with drugs, domestic violence and several robberies, law enforcement sources said.

Submit tips to police by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visiting crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, downloading the NYPD Crime Stoppers mobile app, or texting 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. Spanish-speaking callers are asked to dial 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).

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