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Police Seek 3 Men For Questioning In East Harlem Shooting Before Officer Was Killed

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Police on Friday were looking to question three men in connection with the shooting minutes before NYPD Officer Randolph Holder was murdered in East Harlem this week.

As CBS2's Lou Young reported, Holder and his partner heard the gunfire Tuesday night, and minutes later, Holder was killed.

Investigators believe career criminal Tyrone Howard, 30, shot and killed Holder during a pursuit. Police said Howard was running from another shooting in the development.

Howard has been charged with first-degree murder and robbery and was ordered held without bail. He was also shot and wounded by Officer Holder's partner.

On Friday night, police were also looking to talk with the three men captured in surveillance photos and videos. They are seen looking back at something as they walked along the East River Houses public housing development, and then moved along as if they hadn't a care in the world.

Men Wanted In East Harlem Officer Murder
Police say these three men fled before the shooting that killed NYPD Officer Randolph Holder. (Credit: NYPD)

But now they do.

Wanted In Shooting Before Holder Slaying
Police say these three men fled before the shooting that killed NYPD Officer Randolph Holder. (Credit: NYPD)

Police believe the men in the video could be the rest of the story in the events leading up to Officer Holder's murder -- possible participants or witnesses in the presumed gang-on-gang shootout that initially drew officers to the scene.

Two housing officers on a rooftop at the project said they heard shots on Tuesday night and saw people firing guns.

The three men seen leaving the area in the video did not attract police attention, but Howard did.

Another surveillance camera caught Howard pedaling away on a bicycle, being followed by a squad car with lights flashing.

Police said Howard turned and fired at two plainclothes officers as he ditched the stolen bike, killing Officer Holder.

This was not the first time Howard's name has been linked with gang gun violence. But sealed court records and court rules made him eligible for a drug diversion program that kept him out of jail after his most recent drug arrest. Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday said that was wrong.

"Some people are irredeemable, and unless they are treated very differently, they pose a danger to our society," de Blasio said.

A wake for Officer Holder will be held Tuesday, beginning at 9 a.m., at the Greater Allen AME Cathedral of New York in Jamaica, Queens. Holder's funeral will be held Wednesday at 3 p.m. at the same location, and he will then be flown to his native Guyana for burial.

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