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Charmene Pickering,
Brooklyn, New York
July 26, 2001

Agencies: Office of the Attorney General New York | New York State Police

Last updated: 27 days ago

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The state trooper's bullet that critically wounded an unarmed Brooklyn woman in Flatbush on Thursday first hit an alleged drug dealer sitting next to her in a car, authorities revealed yesterday. State police investigators said the slug grazed Carlos Rodas' shoulder when he accidentally bumped into a trooper who had drawn his 9-mm. weapon. The bullet then struck Charmene Pickering, 27, who was in the passenger seat, in her neck. She remained on life support at Kings County Hospital last night. State police said that although they arrested Rodas on the spot, they only learned he was wounded late yesterday. As details of the drug raid emerged, NYPD sources blasted the state troopers, federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents and Schenectady police who ran it for failing to tell city police what they were doing. "They're upstate bumpkins coming to New York City to play cop," one high-ranking police source said. A main target of the raid was the wounded woman's mother, Cheryl (Ma) Pickering, 54, who was arrested on drug conspiracy charges. Last night the suspect's mother, Mary Pickering, 69, said sadly that her daughter "was on drugs and has been on drugs for years" but insisted her wounded granddaughter "had no involvement in them.

" "She is a sweet, loving person who works hard to make a life for herself and her son" - 21-month-old Yarvion, Mary Pickering said. "I'm sorry she got in that car. I know she should never have been shot," she said. "I just pray she is going to be okay. Nobody can pray as hard as I did last night.

" The grandmother said Charmene Pickering, a single mother who has part-time jobs, was in the Toyota Camry with Rodas only because he offered her a ride from her mother's house near Brooklyn College to the day-care center where she was to pick up her son. She said the tot now was staying with his mother's aunt. State police officials acknowledged that Senior Investigator Samuel Mercado shot Pickering in the raid, which was supposed to cap a year-long investigation into a heroin-dealing ring. "From our standpoint, he didn't violate any guidelines," said Col. Joseph Loszynski of the state police internal affairs unit. "It strictly looks like an accident.

" Loszynski said troopers and federal agents boxed in a Toyota Camry carrying Charmene Pickering after it left Cheryl Pickering's house. As Mercado tried to open Rodas' seatbelt with his left hand, Rodas came out of the car and raised his left arm, striking the trooper's right hand, which held the handgun, Loszynski said. The gun went off, grazing Rodas in the shoulder and hitting Pickering on the left side of her neck. Two ounces of heroin were found hidden in a secret compartment in the car door but there was no weapon, troopers said. Loszynski said state police didn't learn Rodas was wounded because the feds immediately took him into custody. According to a criminal complaint, Cheryl Pickering was selling heroin to drug dealers who peddled the dope in upstate Schenectady. Pickering, Rodas and a third suspect, John Alston, were arraigned yesterday on drug charges.

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New York State trooper Samuel Mercado accidentally shoots to death passenger Charmene Pickering, 27, during an attempted drug bust in Brooklyn of the driver.
Outcome: The D.A. chooses not to prosecute.

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