‘Dangerous felon’ injured in shootout with NYPD cops dies: police

The “dangerous criminal” who was shot by NYPD cops after opening fire – striking a Bronx officer – died early Wednesday, authorities confirmed.

Rameek Smith, 25, died at St. Barnabas Hospital around 3:30 a.m., cops said.

The shooting unfolded after Officer Dennis Vargas, who works for the Bronx Borough Public Safety Team, and his partner spotted the suspect walking near 3rd Avenue and Claremont Parkway around 10:45 p.m., according to Chief of Detectives James Essig.

After Vargas, 32, and his partner, who were in uniform, got out of their unmarked car, Smith fled on foot, officials said.

The two cops gave chase and after a block and a half chase, Smith turned around on Bathgate Avenue and reportedly fired two shots at the cops, hitting Vargas. Officers returned fire, hitting Smith in the head, police and sources said.

Sources said Smith was first arrested because it appeared he was carrying a weapon.

Cops gather at the scene of a police officer who fired on Bathgate Ave. and Claremont Parkway in the Bronx.
William C. Lopez/NYPOST

Vargas — an eight-year veteran whose stepfather is also a cop — was taken to Lincoln Medical Center in stable condition and released hours later.

“We are extremely fortunate this morning that our officer is recovering after being shot by a dangerous criminal who should not have been on the streets of the Bronx or anywhere else,” NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell tweeted. “NYPD officers are there for New Yorkers day and night – risking their lives without hesitation.”

Smith’s last known address is a homeless shelter on Castleton Avenue in Staten Island, but he has family who live nearby in the Bronx, Essig said.

Caution tape blocks an area where the shooting took place in the Bronx area of ​​New York, May 11, 2022.
Authorities are investigating the scene of the May 11, 2022 shooting.
William C. Lopez/NYPOST

Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell called Smith a “dangerous criminal who shouldn’t have been on the streets of the Bronx or anywhere else.”

He was last arrested in March 2020 at a Coney Island subway station. He was reportedly found with a gun after being arrested for fraud and charged with criminal possession of a weapon, officials and sources said.

He was also convicted of theft in 2016 and sentenced to five years probation, officials said.

Smith pleaded guilty last December in the firearms case and has been released pending sentencing, which has been twice delayed. He is due back in court in June, officials said.

Mayor Eric Adams called Smith’s case a perfect example of why he is pushing for reforms.

“People want to ask, why am I cracking down on fare evasion? That’s why. People want to ask why we’ve done 300,000 station inspections. That’s why.”

“People want to ask, why are we pushing for reform?” Hizzoner continued. “That’s why. That’s what we’re up against.”

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