The father of one of the two men accused of robbing a Bronx deli and shooting at five New York Police Department cops, injuring two of them, defended the suspect. He ultimately blamed the Marine Corps and the streets of the city for steering his son wrong.
"I apologize to the families that my son affected by his actions, but my son is not like this,” Johnny Polanco, 53, told the New York Daily News of his 24-year-old son Jason.
“The worst thing I ever did was bring him down to Decatur Avenue,” Polanco said. “He was a good kid before we moved to this forsaken block.”
He also blamed the Marine Corps for his son's troubles. His son apparently joined up, but then left after five months.
“When he came back, he was [sic] totally different person,” he said. “He had a problem being around crowds and he didn't like civilians. I told him, 'Jase, this is not life.'"
Like Jason’s dad, the mother of the second suspect, Joshua Kemp, 28, blamed her son’s wrongdoing on his circumstances. Theresa Kemp, 50, a single mother of three, told the New York Daily News that she was homeless while her son was raised in foster care and that she “failed as a mom.”
Jason Polanco and Joshua Kemp were both arrested on Jan. 6 after allegedly robbing the Welcome 2 Yemen Deli and then shooting at five plainclothes cops.
Kemp was already on parole for robbery and had 10 previous busts, the New York Daily News reports. Polanco had been arrested three times for possessing weapons and pleaded guilty in September to disorderly conduct, according to cops.
Security video apparently shows Polanco firing three shots from a .44-caliber Ruger handgun when officers responded to the robbery at the Bronx grocery store on Jan. 5.
The two wounded officers, Andrew Dossi, 30, and Aliro Pellerano, 38, were hospitalized in stable condition.
"I commend them for their courage," Chief of Department James O'Neill said at a news conference. "They were going home ... and they ended up getting into a fierce firefight.”
The shooting occurred two weeks after two Brooklyn officers were fatally shot while sitting in their patrol car, the Associated Press reports.
Police say the shooting began outside a Chinese restaurant where Kemp was shot in the bicep after Polanco opened fire from inside. He reportedly went outside and fired two more shots, wounding the second officer; one officer returned three shots but missed.
Polanco ran off and tried to shoot two women he car-jacked, but crashed a few blocks away, police said. He reportedly jumped out, dropped his gun and fled on foot.
Polanco was eventually identified and arrested thanks to security footage that investigators released on Jan. 6. Kemp was caught at a hospital where he was being treated for his wound.