Family, diplomat demand justice after man shot by cop

(05/21/07) THE BRONX ? Relatives of a motorist fatally shot by an off-duty NYPD officer are demanding a full investigation into the incident.

Authorities say Officer Raphael Lora, 37, was trying to stop victim Fermin Arzu from leaving the scene of a car accident. According to police, Lora opened fire and killed Arzu.

Arzu?s friends and family members are now calling for justice. ?We want justice, OK?? Wendy Castillo, a niece, said. ?This is a human being?s life that has been taken away.?

Arzu's friends are calling on police to use restraint in deadly force incidents.

A senior Honduran diplomat is also joining the call for a probe. The New York Times reports diplomat Javier Hernandez has criticized the NYPD and promises to not let the incident go by unnoticed.

Lora, who allegedly did not use his service weapon in the incident, has not spoken in detail about the shooting based on advice from his lawyer. He has been placed on administrative duty. NYPD representatives have promised a full investigation.

The incident unfolded at 11:40 p.m. Friday and ended when the bloodied man drove away from the officer, sideswiped another vehicle, then died as his minivan burned on a sidewalk. Police said it began when Arzu slammed into a parked car on a side street near the officer's home.

Witnesses told investigators the minivan backed up and drove about a block before Lora, who was on foot and out of uniform, caught up to the vehicle. He was standing at the driver's open door when the minivan lurched forward.

The investigation has been turned over to the Bronx District Attorney?s Office.

AP wire reports contributed to this story.

Related information: Relatives mourn man killed by cop's bullet in the BX


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