By Calvin Palmer
A scam artist operating in Times Square, New York, was shot and killed by a plainclothes police officer in an exchange of gunfire that shattered windows in the Broadway theater district.
Raymond Martinez, 25, was believed to be conning tourists along Broadway and 46th Street when he was recognized by a sergeant who works on a task force that monitors aggressive panhandling, said a police source.
When the officer approached, Martinez took off and ran through the Marriott Marquis hotel’s passenger drop-off area.
Martinez allegedly turned and fired with a Mac-10 machine pistol as the officer gave chase. He got off two rounds before the pistol jammed. The officer returned fire, killing the suspect. No one else was injured in the incident.
Bullets hit the ticket box of the Minskoff Theatre, cracking the window.
Kathleen Duffy, a spokeswoman for New York City Marriott Hotels, said the shooting took place in a taxi pickup and drop-off area.
Officers suspected Martinez and another man were working a scam in which they would approach tourists, ask them their names, then write their names on the CDs and demand payment of $10.
Martinez had been wanted for assault in the Bronx, but the officer approached him because he was recognized as an aggressive panhandler.
There were 27 live rounds left in his gun, authorities said.
Duncan Stewart, a Broadway casting director, has a 12th-floor office that overlooks Times Square. He said he was on the phone when he heard three loud pops.
“With the echo, I didn’t quite know what it was, but within five minutes, there were cars, police sirens, cops running,” Stewart said. “It was chaotic.”
He has gotten used to seeing the weird and wacky in Times Sqaure, but almost never anything violent.
“It’s bizarre,” he said. “It’s one thing to see the Naked Cowboy day after day in Times Square, but a shooting is something different altogether.”