The 65-year-old man killed by NYPD officers on Brooklyn’s Belt Parkway was armed with a BB gun and may have died in a suicide-by-cop showdown, police and law-enforcement sources say.

Brian Astarita, 65, of Brooklyn was pulled over by a police officer for speeding in a gray Jeep Cherokee near highway’s Bay 8th Street exit around 4 p.m. Thursday, authorities said. But as the cop approached the car, he took off, according to the NYPD.

The female officer chased after Astarita, who rammed the cop’s car when she stopped in front of the Jeep near the Verrazzano Bridge, authorities said.

Astarita then went to the back seat to grab his black weapon and walked toward officers on the highway, police said. The NYPD later released a photo of Astarita’s BB gun.

Cops suspect he may have taunted them into killing him, sources said.

Brian Astarita being loaded into an ambulance.
Paramedics transport Astarita to the hospital after he was shot six times by police. He could not be saved.
Paul Martinka for NY Post

Officers opened fire at the suspect, striking him multiple times, according to police. Astarita was rushed to Lutheran Medical Center, but he could not be saved.

Astarita had at least six prior arrests, his latest in 2017 for an unlicensed operator of a vehicle, according to sources.


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