HARRISON, N.Y. -- County officials have ruled that the shooting of a burglary suspect by a Harrison police lieutenant in October was accidental.
Lt. Vito Castellano shot suspect Daniel DiBiase on Oct. 17 while officers were trying to arrest DiBiase in connection with a Sept. 3 burglary. DiBiase and two other suspects were wanted in connection with a series of home invasions, including one where $500,000 worth of jewelry was taken.
The Westchester County Department of Public Safety conducted an extensive investigation into the incident and determined that Castellano fired his gun accidentally, Commissioner George N. Longworth announced Thursday. The investigation was launched at the request of Harrison police, and Longsworth said that Castellano and the other 10 Harrison officers who were at the scene cooperated fully with the investigation.
While approaching the suspect's vehicle, Castellano fired two rounds from a department-issued LMT Guardian 2000 .223 caliber rifle, county police said. Both rounds went through the rear passenger window and through the front passenger seat. One of the rounds went through the seat intact and exited through the front driver's side window. The other struck the framework inside the passenger seat and shattered into three fragments. One of the fragments hit he driver in the shoulder, and another lodged in the bulletproof vest of Det. Stephen Barrone.
County ballistics experts determined that the path the bullets traveled indicates the rifle was being held in a holding position near the waist, not in a shouldered position that would be used to engage a target, Longsworth said.
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