GREENLAWN, N.Y. (WPIX)—A man, who authorities believed had ties to an early morning burglary on Long Island, was shot and wounded by a Suffolk County police officer along Route 25 in Greenlawn.
The wounded man was thought to be one of three suspects who allegedly forced their way into a Taco Bell/Pizza Hut Express restaurant on New York Avenue in Huntington Station shortly after 4 a.m.
An investigation later determined none of the men were involved in the crime.
According to police, three men robbed the fast-food restaurant of cash and fled the scene in a dark-colored vehicle.
Suffolk County police ultimately caught up with the vehicle they believed belonged to the suspects on Route 25, at Manor Road, and pulled them over. During the stop, one of the men apparently appeared to be reaching for a gun, which prompted an officer to shoot twice.
The victim, identified only as a 31-year-old male, suffered a wound to the stomach and was rushed to Huntington Hospital in stable condition.
"The officer commanded the person in the back seat to show his hands," Det. Lt. Gerard Pelkofsky told PIX News. "The person did not comply with that and made a sudden move to go between his legs."
It turns out the victim did not have a weapon and may been drunk without any clue as to what was going on.
Police said the three men in the Honda were on their way home from a bar at 4 a.m. and had nothing to do with the armed robbery just a few minutes earlier.
The officer, a 14-year veteran who never fired his weapon in the line of duty before, was responding to a police broadcast that went out for the suspects describing them only as three armed Hispanic men.
Detectives say when the cop spotted a vehicle just a few moments later with three hispanic men inside, he stopped the car and assumed the men were armed and dangerous.
"It was clearly an emotionally charged situation," said Suffolk County Chief of Detective Dominick Varrone. "The officer clearly felt that these may be the individuals who were involved in that robbery."
Detectives are still investigating the shooting and say at this time the officer involved, who they are not identifying, appears to have acted appropriately.
Police wouldn't say what the ethnicity of the officer is, but did say he was shouting commands at the men in both Spanish and English.
Route 24 was closed for several hours as police investigated the incident.
The officer involved in the shooting was reportedly being treated for trauma.