On September 21, at 2155 hrs., P.O.s Soto, Muller and Discala responded to a radio run of a suspicious male with a gun at the CVS store located in Franklin Square. As the Officers were responding, they received further information that there was a possible robbery in progress a male black wearing a white t-shirt was armed with a gun and had the CVS Manager with him. The Officers were informed that this description fit a pattern of robberies in the 5th Pct. and to use caution. CB was getting up-to-date information from the employees in the store who were on the phone with 911.
P.O.s Muller, Soto and Discala arrived at the scene. P.O. Discala took a position at the side entrance of the building. P.O.s Muller and Soto went in the front door, as they walked in, they saw a young man and woman by the cash register and no employees. They also saw a male walking down an aisle. P.O. Soto asked the couple, “Where were the cashiers?” They said, “They’re in the office.” They appeared extremely nervous and P.O. Soto and Muller told them to get out of the store. As the couple was leaving, a male black in a white t-shirt, baseball cap and bandana covering the lower part of his face who had been watching the officers from the video camera in the office, jumped out of the office, took cover behind a photo machine and pointed a silver revolver at the P.O.s who had no cover. They told the subject, “Police, drop the gun.” The subject refused and shot at the P.O.s. The Officers returned fire and struck the subject. He fell forward, got up and ran toward the aisle where at the same time, a male white, whom the P.O.s had seen earlier, ran toward P.O. Muller. The officers yelled for him to get down. P.O. Muller tackled him to the ground and laid on top of him to protect him from being shot. The subject now turned in a bladed stance, as if he had firearms training, toward P.O. Muller and the civilian. P.O. Soto ran in front of P.O. Muller and took aim at the subject. The, subject turned and ran down an aisle. P.O. Soto, not knowing how many customers or subjects were still in the store, ran after the subject. The subject was waiting for P.O. Soto at the end of the aisle. The subject was down on one knee and peeked around the corner and shot at P.O. Soto again. P.O. Soto returned fire and the subject fell, got up and ran.
P.O. Morales of the 6th Pct, who was on his way to his Pct. saw the officers arrive on the scene and had stopped to see if he could assist. He heard shots, grabbed his gun and his uniform shirt and identified himself to P.O. Muller. He had no vest. P.O. Soto heard shots outside and exited the store through the front door. The subject had exited the store through the side door where P.O. Discala was waiting. P.O. Discala and the subject were about five feet away from each other. The subject fired at P.O. Discala and he returned fire. P.O. Soto ran to aid P.O. Discala.
The subject ran toward a creek bed of bushes which was totally dark, turned and fired again at the P.O.s. The Officers returned fire. The subject ran into the creek bed, behind a dumpster. P.O.s Soto and Discala ran around the dumpster and saw the subject’s legs under a bush. The officers ordered the subject to show his hands and to throw out the gun. The subject refused and the officers heard a round go off. P.O. Soto then grabbed the subject by his legs and pulled him out of the bushes. P.O. Discala was covering P.O. Soto. The subject was still holding the gun. The Officers now saw that the subject was still alive and had multiple gunshot wounds. P.O. Soto requested medical aid.
Inside the store P.O. Muller and Morales were now searching the store for more subjects and civilians who may have been injured or taken hostage. They could hear people screaming. They found the employees in the office very disoriented and kept them safe.
The subject later expired at Mercy Hospital from a self-inflicted gun shot wound to the head. The 5th Squad closed out three other robbery cases.
As a result of the Heroic Bravery displayed by the Officers, it is the honor and privilege to award the “Police Officer of the Month” award to P.O.’s Muller, Soto and Discala.