Suspect in shooting NYPD officer was a repeat offender

TREMONT, Bronx (WABC) — Information about the suspect who injured an NYPD police officer before he was killed continued to surface Wednesday, as an outraged Mayor Eric Adams questioned why that suspect was still on the street.

Rameek Smith, 25, was shot in the head Tuesday night after the incident in the Claremont section of the Bronx.

NYPD officer Dennis Vargas was treated and released from Lincoln Hospital a few hours after the shooting.

Smith was awaiting sentencing next month after he was caught with a gun while failing to pay the fare at the Coney Island/Stillwell Avenue subway station in Brooklyn in March 2020.

He appeared in court in the case on May 4.

“The arrest was in March 2020 and he remained on the street for 20 months after the arrest,” Adams said. “He finally pleaded guilty in December 2021. So you ask yourself, ‘He pleaded guilty in December 2021, why wasn’t he in jail?’ “He was still out, waiting for his sentencing. The sentencing was postponed for five months, and you know what else happened? It was postponed again.”

The open case also prompted Adams to defend his continued crackdown on parting and subway crime.

“People want to ask why I take a hard line on tariff evasion?” he said. “Therefore.”

Smith had made nine arrests, two of them unsealed.

He pleaded guilty to theft on Staten Island in July 2016 and was given five years’ probation.

He was also charged with criminal gun possession in March 2020, and in December 2021, after evaluation from a court-appointed psychiatrist and judicial approval, Smith pleaded guilty and was placed under Mental Health Court supervision.

His sentence, which could be up to 2 to 4 years, would have been determined by the judge at the end of the Mental Health Court’s mandate.

He listed his address as a Staten Island homeless shelter and had relatives in the Bronx.

“He suffers from bipolar, you know, schizophrenia,” said a relative. “As you know, he’s mental.”

Some of Smith’s relatives came to the scene of Tuesday night’s shooting and expressed anger at his death.

“Now I get a call that he’s dead?” said another.

The Legal Aid Association has released the following statement about the incident.

“Rameek Smith was a father and son. His tragic and untimely murder is devastating. Mr. Smith was released from the custody of the New York City Department of Correction in March 2020 for a non-violent felony, with permission from the Kings County District Attorney’s office and Since that time, upon being admitted to the Mental Health Court, Mr. Smith has fulfilled all his obligations, attended every court hearing and consistently participated in programming to meet his needs. The New York City Police Department’s unsubstantiated claims that this case involves bail reform are patently false and expose the government’s continued refusal to understand the scope and benefits of these reforms. case of Mr. Smith the need for early intervention, access to services and community support we warn the New Y orkers that they acknowledge the mayor’s unscrupulous fear mongering about last night’s murder. le ailments, his life was cut short, and the public should not lose sight of that, regardless of incendiary comments from City Hall.”

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