It was a harrowing scene on the Upper East Side Thursday afternoon when an NYPD officer had his gun drawn on the East River Esplanade pointed at a career criminal who had run from a stolen SUV that crashed FDR Drive who had refused the cop’s orders to get on the ground, witnesses and cops told Upper East Site. That’s when Good Samaritans sprung into action.
“He sat down right next to me,” said one of five old-timers who spend their days enjoying the waterfront in the area north of East 92nd Street, gesturing to the spot on the bench beside him.
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“He put everybody’s lives in danger,” a second old timer told Upper East Site, explaining how the suspect would not get on the ground despite repeated orders from the NYPD officer whose service pistol was trained on him.
“He refused to get on the floor. So, he grabbed him,” the man said, pointing to a third and fourth man, “He grabbed him, everyone grabbed him.”
Minutes earlier, witnesses tell Upper East Site the suspect had been behind the wheel of black BMW that was racing another vehicle on FDR Drive northbound through the Upper East Side.
Police tell Upper East Site that officers had spotted the stolen BMW with Maryland license plates speeding while weaving in-and-out of traffic, even trying to force its way between two cars — like motorcycles sometime do. Cops attempted to pull the BMW over, however, they say it sped away.
This dangerous driving didn’t just begin on Thursday. A review of traffic summons data by Upper East Site shows the stolen BMW first began receiving tickets in Brooklyn in late February, racking up 10 automated violations in less than two months for Speeding in a School Zone, as well as one summons for running a red light.
Near 90th Street, the BMW slammed into several vehicles, investigators say, including a silver Genesis SUV, the back wheel of which was twisted in the wrong direction.
The driver of the Genesis told Upper East Site that he was driving northbound on the FDR Drive when the BMW crashed into his SUV and another car.
Despite the front and side airbags deploying during the violent collision, witnesses said two passengers in the BMW had jumped out and fled in a second car that picked them up, leaving the driver of the BMW behind. The NYPD could not immediately confirm the details about the passengers.
“The guy jumped out the bush all sweaty [sic],” said Raymond, a fisherman who was approached by the suspect who had just fled the scene of the crash, “I thought he was gonna rob me for my fishing rod.”
“He goes, ‘Let me just stand here; I think the cops are looking for me,’” the fisherman explained, noting that a police officer who had responded and was coming from the East 96th Street entrance to the esplanade hadn’t gotten a description of the suspect yet from witnesses and walked right past them towards the crash scene.
“He comes back to us like ‘where is he?’” Raymond continued, “[The cop is] walking here, as soon as he turns, he spotted him.”
The suspect had walked about 50 feet north on the esplanade to where the old-timers were seated.
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“He pulled out his gun and yelled ‘get down! All the guys jumped him,” the angler explained, “They helped the cop.”
Witnesses say the suspect was taken into custody by the officers and hauled off from the scene in a squad car.
Police tell Upper East Site that Keyon Keller-Abraham of Brooklyn was arrested and charged with Resisting Arrest, Leaving the Scene of an Accident, Obstructing Governmental Administration, Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle, Reckless Driving and moving from a lane unsafely.
The 31-year-old is a career criminal with over 30 prior arrests, including rape, robbery, assault, criminal possession of a loaded gun, aggravated harassment, making terroristic threat, reckless endangerment, sexual abuse, grand larceny and criminal contempt, detectives say.
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