State police have determined the man who exchanged gunfire with troopers and other police officers on the Thruway in January had recently ingested the drug PCP and was on the run from a brutal assault he committed in Connecticut.
Darrel O. Brown, 23, of Hartford, was the only passenger in a taxicab that was stopped for speeding on Interstate 90 eastbound just before noon. He had hired the cab driver to take him from Hartford to an undisclosed location in the Capital Region.
But when a state police trooper stopped the cab for speeding about one mile from Exit 10 in the Rensselaer County town of Schodack, Brown became agitated and produced a Norinco 84S-1 assault rifle he had stowed in a duffel bag. He then fired 28 shots at the trooper and other responding authorities before being taken down by a state police sniper’s bullet.
Brown was struck by three buckshot slugs from a trooper’s shotgun, two .223-caliber rifle rounds fired by an East Greenbush police officer and one .308-caliber rifle round fired by a marksman. He was brought to Albany Medical Center Hospital where he was pronounced dead from his injuries two days later.
Witnesses reported hearing Brown say “shoot me” and “kill me” as state police negotiators tried to get him to surrender. No police officers were injured during the incident, but the taxi, two state police cruisers and two civilian vehicles were struck by the volley of shots.
Six troopers fired a total of 33 shots at Brown, including a dozen from 12-gauge shotguns, 20 from .45-caliber service pistols and one from a .308 rifle with sniper scope. An East Greenbush police officer also fired five rounds from his service weapon.
A probe into the incident revealed that Brown, a former United Parcel Service worker, was a known member of the Bloods street gang who was a suspect in a carjacking and serious assault of a Hartford man the evening before the gun battle on I-90. Investigators said Brown was likely fleeing to the area because he was aware that Hartford police knew of his involvement in that crime.
Autopsy results also showed that Brown had ingested the powerful dissociative drug phencyclidine — also known as angel dust — and was believed to be under the influence at the time of the shooting.