John Collado’s family never thought helping out a fellow neighbor would lead to his death. On Tuesday evening, Collado witnessed a scuffle between his neighbor and an unknown individual.
Sensing trouble, Collado quickly dashed to the aid of his neighbor, mid-mugging. An ex-pro wrestler, Collado did what he does best and put the unidentified person in a choke hold; while the struggle persisted, the unknown person grabbed a gun and fired into Collado’s abdomen.
The presumed mugger was an NYPD narcotics detective.
“My brother went to help and said ‘Get away from him,’ and I guess he grabbed the guy, my brother grabbed him. He didn’t know he was a policeman,” Pablo Collado, John’s brother, told Zack Fink of NY1.
According to law enforcement, Collado picked up the officer, who they argue identified himself as a cop, about a foot off the ground and began spinning him.
While the street-clothed detective was airborne, he took hold of his firearm and shot Collado.
Moments before the clash, the detective saw a suspected drug dealer, Collado’s neighbor, doing a transaction. According to the police, the buyer fled from the scene but the dealer decided to hold his ground and fight.
The brawl poured into the street and at that moment Collado interfered.
The 43-year-old Collado was rushed to the Harlem Hospital where he died 12 hours later.
According to some reports, police found a bag containing 21 dime bags of marijuana that the neighbor dropped when fleeing the scene, as well as a larger bag filled with marijuana at the scene of the drug deal.
Collado’s neighbor was arrested shortly after the incident.
Collado’s family and law enforcement officials tell contradictory stories as to how or why Collado’s death could have been prevented.
Collado’s niece, Banayz Taveras, saw the aftermath of the shooting from across the street.
“I look and I see my uncle with a gunshot wound on the floor,” she told the New York Daily News.
Taveras pleaded for police to let her attempt to help her uncle, but was denied access and was also arrested — for obstruction of justice, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. She was still in custody when her uncle died.
After Collado died in the hospital, his family claimed they were refused admittance to be by Collado’s side or retrieve his body.
According to police the restricted access was necessary because Collado was involved in a crime, but his relatives were allowed to see him shortly after his death.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Wednesday the case is still being investigated by the NYPD.
“If he would have identified himself as a cop, my dad would have stopped. He got shot in the stomach, trying to stop an unidentified cop in a scuffle with a civilian, a kid I grew up with, my dad’s neighbor. He went to break it up,” John Collado, Jr. told the media.
Relatives now plan to sue the city for wrongful death.