Man Who Opened Fire on NYPD Cleared of All Charges
Angel Alvarez holds his son, Angel, Jr., as he leaves Manhattan Supreme Court with supporters after a grand jury declined to indict him on charges of gun possession.
New York Daily News via YellowBrix
March 03, 2011
NEW YORK – A man whom cops shot 23 times for allegedly firing at them walked out of court a free man Wednesday after a grand jury found him innocent.
Angel Alvarez, 24, had been behind bars on gun charges since a wild Harlem shootout that left one man dead last summer.
“It feels real good,” said Alvarez, surrounded by cheering family members as he left Manhattan Criminal Court. “I’m happy. I’m alive, I’m free.”
Alvarez was jailed after gunfire erupted at about 3 a.m. on Aug. 8, just as a packed block party began to break up.
Witnesses said Alvarez was brawling with Luis Soto, 22, over a gun when two shots rang out and police unleashed a barrage of 46 bullets – one of which killed Soto.
“[The grand jury] has voted to dismiss all charges against Angel Alvarez,” Assistant District Attorney John Veiga told a Manhattan judge before his release.
DA Cyrus Vance’s office had no further comment on the case, refusing to say if the grand jury – empanelled especially to review the fatal police shooting – has finished its work.
Prosecutors also declined comment on whether they are presenting charges against the four cops who opened fire.
Police originally charged Alvarez with attempted murder in the case but Vance’s office refused to pursue that charge before empanelling the investigative grand jury – and lodged only weapons possession counts against Alvarez last fall.
“We don’t know if it’s over, " Zach Johnson, one of Alvarez’s lawyers said of the probe. “The grand jury is still going on as far as we know.”
Alvarez appeared healthy but claimed he was still in “real pain” and that three bullets remained inside him.
He loped out of court carrying a mystery novel given to him by a accused SoHo House killer Nicolas Brooks, the 24-year-old son of Oscar winner and alleged rapist Joseph Brooks.
“I thought I was never going to come home,” Alvarez said. “They didn’t have no evidence against me with cops – it’s really difficult to have a case against cops.”
Alvarez said his first act of freedom would be to play with his 3-year-old son, Angel Jr.