On 26 June 2016 afternoon that they ended David’s life, Harold Carte and Vicente Matias, two veteran detectives of the 26th Precinct, were searching for David after an alleged purse-snatching at his girlfriend’s college when they entered a 20-bed supportive housing program run by The Bridge in New York’s East Village. Carter and Matias buzzed the front office – which, due to the time of day, had only one staff person on duty. The young black woman told the detectives that the building houses people with mental health issues, and that David is diagnosed with schizophrenia. The detectives told the staff member that they had a legally-required warrant to enter David’s building and apartment, showed her a piece of paper with David’s picture on it (which is typical of a New York City Record of Arrests and Prosecutions, known as a Rap sheet, and not an arrest warrant). They refused to wait while she called a supervisor, barged in despite her protests and headed up to the sixth floor while demanding that she accompany them and use her master key to open his door.
The instructions in the NYPD Patrol Guide to officers in such situations are “Do not attempt to take [emotionally disturbed persons] into custody without the specific direction of a supervisor” and “attempt to isolate and contain [the person] while maintaining a zone of safety until arrival of a patrol supervisor and Emergency Service Unit personnel.” Still, the officers attempted to take David into custody without more skilled assistance.
As detectives entered his room, he was watching television, David reportedly yelled “I’m not going!” and fled down the fire escape. Despite the fact that David posed no immediate physical threat to himself or others at that time, the officers failed to simply contain him in his apartment until help arrived, and instead intercepted him as he attempted to reenter the building from the courtyard.
Carter fired point-blank at David instead of utilizing a less-than-lethal weapon such as a Taser or pepper spray.