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Family of Joel Capellan, man fatally shot by police in Inwood, wants answers from NYPD

Family of man fatally shot by officers has questions for NYPD
Family of man fatally shot by officers has questions for NYPD 02:25

NEW YORK -- According to the NYPD, officers fatally shot 29-year-old Joel Capellan in Inwood over the weekend after he ignored repeated commands to drop his weapon.

It reportedly started when Capellan brandished a weapon during a dispute, CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis reported Monday. 

Capellan's family was left heartbroken and with many questions after his death. 

"His smile, when he walked into a room, it lit up the whole world. He was so great," said Kayla Capellan, his sister.

According to police, a lieutenant and three officers assigned to the neighborhood safety team were approaching the intersection of Nagle Avenue and Dyckman Street at around 3 a.m. Sunday when they saw a dispute. 

"They observed a male with a gun in his hand fighting in the crowd. The officers exit their vehicle, they give commands for the person to drip the firearm. They yell repeated commands, and then at some point, officers discharge their weapons," said NYPD Chief of Patrol Jeffrey Maddrey. 

According to police, the men involved left a club and apparently had words over a dirty look. Capellan allegedly pulled out his weapon and pistol whipped another man. The gun discharged and that man was grazed in the head by a bullet. Then, cops arrived. 

"I don't own a gun, my son did not own a gun. Where's the ballistics that say that gun belonged to him?" said Jeni Rodriguez, Capellan's mother. 

Police said a gun was recovered at the scene.

Some of the dispute appeared to be caught on camera. Mayor Eric Adams said he reviewed recordings of the incident. 

"Officers repeatedly stated 'Drop the gun,' said Adams. "My heart goes out to the family members of the young man that's involved and my heart goes out to the police officers." 

Police sources said Capellan has eight prior arrests and was on parole for criminal sale of a controlled substance.

Rodriguez said her son was a good person and turning his life around, which was echoed by those who gathered at a memorial for Capellan. 

"He helped everybody, he loved everybody, and he was just a good person. He meant well. People will make mistakes but none of that should have happened to him. None of it," said Barbara Jimenez, a friend. 

Capellan's family said they want him to be remembered as a loving young man who was always willing to help others. 

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