Tyrone Howard, 30, has been detained in connection with Officer Randolph Holder's death

By Chris Harris
Updated October 21, 2015 02:35 PM
Credit: New York State Department of Corrections

Police in New York City have detained a man who they allege gunned down one of their own Tuesday night during a shootout in East Harlem.

At a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, law enforcement officials revealed they have apprehended a 30-year-old man named Tyrone Howard.

The suspect stands accused of shooting Randolph Holder – a five-year veteran of the New York City police force whose father and grandfather were cops – in the head.

According to police, Holder, 33, was responding to reports of gunfire on Tuesday evening soon after 8:30 p.m. when he and his partner spotted a man, allegedly identified as Howard, fleeing. The officers gave chase.

Police officials said that as he fled, Howard allegedly aimed his gun at another man and stole his bike in an apparent attempt to hasten his escape.

As the officers reached a footbridge near the Franklin D. Roosevelt East River Drive, Howard allegedly fired one shot at them. The bullet struck Holder in the forehead, killing him instantly.

Holder’s partner returned fire, hitting Howard in the leg and buttock. Officers caught up with the suspect several blocks away and took him into custody.

Howard was initially treated for his injuries at an area hospital, but is now being interviewed by investigators. Police officials said he has not yet been formally charged.

Records show Howard was arrested in 2010 as part of an effort to quell gang and gun trafficking activities in Queens, New York.

In 2010, Howard was charged with criminal possession of a weapon and criminally using drug paraphernalia. Police documents from that time identified him as a member of the Bloods street gang.

Howard was also charged in 2014 with selling crack cocaine in and around the East River Houses in Manhattan, records indicate.

Information concerning the disposition of those charges was not available on Wednesday.

New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton said during Wednesday’s press conference that an “extensive” criminal investigation into Tuesday’s shooting continues, and that the suspect is a “violent, career criminal” with a lengthy record that should not have been out on the streets with “the rest of us.”

Bratton said it appears Howard had been released from prison as part of the Manhattan criminal court’s diversion program.

Funeral arrangements for Holder will be announced soon, Bratton said.

Officials revealed on Wednesday that they had been hunting Howard for weeks to discuss his alleged involvement in a Sept. 1 gang shooting.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said at the press conference that Holder made the “ultimate sacrifice” on Tuesday night by trying to keep the city and its citizens safe. Those same citizens are now mourning the officer’s tragic death, the mayor added before encouraging New Yorkers to thank any officers they might come across in the near future.

De Blasio also referenced the alleged shooter, Howard, calling him a “hardened, violent criminal that shouldn’t have been on the streets.”

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