Ariel Galarza, 49

Bronx, New York
November 02, 2016

Agencies: New York Police Department NYPD | New York State Attorney General's Office

Cause of death: Taser

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Last updated: over 5 years ago


A 49-year-old Bronx man who threatened officers with a bottle died Wednesday after an NYPD sergeant used a stun gun to subdue him, police said.

Cops responded to a 911 call around 5:30 p.m. on Mayflower Ave. in Pelham Bay about a man armed with a knife who was “acting violently.”

Three officers and the sergeant confronted the man in a basement apartment of the gray Victorian home. The distraught man menaced them with a glass bottle, police said.

The patrol sergeant used a stun gun on the man, who fell to the ground, but revived moments later and tried to fight with the officers. The sergeant delivered a second blast from the stun gun, police said.

The man went into cardiac arrest, and the cops on the scene performed CPR. Paramedics then took him to Einstein Hospital, where he died at 7:22 p.m., cops said.

The tragic incident comes just 15 days after cops shot and killed Deborah Danner, a 66-year-old woman suffering from schizophrenia, when officers answered a neighbor’s complaint about her behaving “in an irrational manner” in her Bronx apartment building.

The NYPD’s Force Investigation Division was looking into Wednesday’s death and no disciplinary action had been taken against the sergeant, identified by sources as William Melrose, a 13-year veteran working in the 45th Precinct.

Amy Spitalnick, spokeswoman for state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, said members of the office’s Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit were on the scene to review the incident for possible jurisdiction under a 2015 executive order by Gov. Cuomo.

An upstairs neighbor who only gave his first name, Derrick, said he knew the man and described him as a “real good dude.”

“He’s not an aggressive guy at all, he’s a real good man,” said the 28-year-old neighbor. He said the man was kind to his 5-year-old son.

“He works out in Long Island. He cuts cold cuts — he’s a deli guy,” Derrick said. “He was real good with my son. My son called him ‘Big Buddy.’ ”

In an Oct. 21 press conference following Danner’s death, NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said, “There are times when Tasers aren’t effective, but they are less-than-lethal weapons and we do use them.”

The NYPD has increased the number of Tasers in its arsenal from 670 in 2014 to 1,710 this year, O’Neill said.