A young Corona man driving erratically down Grand Central Parkway was shot dead by police early Thursday morning. The reasons behind the shooting are still unclear.
Two unmarked vehicles with the Emergency Service Unit Apprehension Team were traveling in the center lane of the Grand Central Parkway by LaGuardia Airport at about 5:15 a.m when they spotted a car weaving in between lanes, police say.
The officers observed a black 2012 Honda Fit Hybrid driven by the victim Noel Polanco, 22, driving swerving in the eastbound lane. Polanco, who enrolled in Army National Guard six months ago, cut in between the two unmarked ESU vehicles into the left lane and began to tailgate another car, according to NYPD. Unable to pass that vehicle the Honda changed lanes again from the left lane in between the ESU vehicles back into the right lane.
At this point, a car stop was attempted. One of the ESU unmarked vans pulled in front of the Honda and the second unmarked van pulled behind it, causing Polanco to pull over. A sergeant and a detective, both in uniform, exited the front vehicle and approached the Honda, which was occupied by Polanco and two female passengers, police say.
The detective discharged one round at the driver striking him once in the torso. Police said he had reached under the seat for something they feared was a gun, radio reports said, though none was found. They later said a drill was there. But the front-seat passenger said he had kept his hands on the steering wheel.
The driver was removed to New York Hospital Queens, where he was pronounced dead at 5:58 a.m.
Minutes before the shooting Polanco was recorded on video surveillance exiting the Ice Bar in Astoria with friends.