Selina McNeal called the police just before 2 a.m. on Wednesday because the superintendent of her apartment building was screaming obscenities and breaking glass in the hallway. She briefly opened her door and spotted him, completely naked, she said.
Minutes later, eight uniformed police officers arrived, pouring out of an elevator. As Ms. McNeal hid under the bed, she heard a struggle and officers yelling, “Shoot him! Shoot him!” Then came a series of shots. “Pop, pop, pop, pop,” she said.
In a matter of seconds, the police officers shot and killed the superintendent, who they said had pointed a gun at them. One officer grappled with the naked man before the shooting started and was shot in the chest during the struggle, the police said. His bulletproof vest stopped the slug.
On Thursday, the police said the man, identified as Victor Hernandez, 29, had fired the bullet that struck Officer Christopher Wintermute on the left side of his chest and lodged in his body armor. Mr. Hernandez’s killing was the fifth deadly shooting by the New York police in a month.
A review of surveillance footage recovered at the scene and body cameras worn by seven of the responding officers showed that Officer Wintermute was first to arrive at the building’s second floor, the police said.
There the officer encountered a naked Mr. Hernandez in “a shooting stance” at the end of the hallway, said Deputy Chief Kevin Maloney, who leads the Force Investigation Division.
As the two men grappled, Officer Wintermute yelled for backup. Three of his colleagues responded and fired 17 rounds at Mr. Hernandez, Chief Maloney said. Ten bullets hit him.
“I did not want him dead,” Ms. McNeal said, hours after she first called the police. “I just wanted to find out what was going on.”
Mr. Hernandez, a father of two and the son of a police officer, had become the building’s superintendent fairly recently, his family members and neighbors said. Ms. McNeal said that before she called 911, Mr. Hernandez had been yelling in the hall for about 20 minutes, making vulgar threats about a woman.
The police commissioner, James P. O’Neill, said on Wednesday that the officers arrived at about 1:50 a.m. and fanned out to search the second-floor hallway of the building, at 2785 Frederick Douglass Boulevard, and encountered a naked man with a gun. “A violent struggle immediately began and shots were fired,” the commissioner said.
Chief Maloney said Mr. Hernandez had been the subject of six domestic complaints in the past. He was last arrested in 2014. He has never been accused of any crime involving drugs, weapons or violence, officials and family members said.
Ms. McNeal said that when she briefly opened the door and saw Mr. Hernandez, she did not see a weapon in his hands. “I saw something that looked like a laptop or a tablet,” she said.
During the shooting, Ms. McNeal said, she was hiding under her bed in tears. After the shots rang out, she heard officers shout, “Watch the fire.” Shortly afterward, she said she heard them yelling at one another, “Where is the gun?”
After the confrontation ended, Ms. McNeal again opened the door and saw Mr. Hernandez lying on the floor face up. The police later told her that what she thought was a tablet was actually a firearm.
“I’m still crying,” Ms. McNeal said. “I close my eyes and it’s all I can see and hear.”
Mr. Hernandez’s family members and neighbors remembered him as a dedicated father to a 6-year-old daughter and an older son, a caring relative and an ambitious man who worked hard.
His aunt, Ana Martinez, said Mr. Hernandez grew up in the Crotona Park East neighborhood of the Bronx. He had taken the police officer and firefighter exams and was studying at Bronx Community College, she said.
Mr. Hernandez’s ex-wife lived in the Throgs Neck neighborhood of the Bronx, Ms. Martinez said. The two had been fighting over custody of their children, and the domestic accusations stemmed from arguments between them, Ms. Martinez said.
The ex-wife, Jaimily Hernandez, declined to comment.
Mr. Hernandez’s mother, Maria, has spent 19 years as a New York police officer, most recently in the Bronx, and he wanted to follow in her footsteps, according to Ms. Martinez. Mr. Hernandez also had relatives who were law enforcement officers in Milwaukee, Florida and Puerto Rico.
Given that Mr. Hernandez came from a law-enforcement family, Ms. Martinez said, she doubted her nephew would have acted violently toward police officers, and she disputed the characterization of him as emotionally disturbed or violent.
“They’re depicting him like he was some kind of psycho or something and he was a menace to society, but he was a person,” Ms. Martinez said. “His mom was on the force for 19 years. She served that city for 19 years, and they murdered her son.”
In a tribute posted to Facebook, Mr. Hernandez’s younger sister, Melissa, said her brother had been her best friend and her protector, an industrious, creative and loving person.
Mr. Hernandez “was always good at everything,” she wrote. He learned to play piano by ear, taught himself to make high-quality videos and had strong technical and mechanical skills.
“My brother could do so many things, and it was always clear to me that he was destined for greatness,” wrote Mr. Hernandez’s sister, who declined to comment further. “Unfortunately, he’ll never get to use any of his many skills.”
Hours before the shooting, Mr. Hernandez ate dinner at a cousin’s house, Ms. Martinez said. He had also picked up his mother from the airport, where she had returned from a vacation in the Dominican Republic.
Over text message, his mother, Maria Hernandez, said, “His only contact with the police before this was domestic with his wife.”
She declined to comment further, saying: “Just know Victor was a kind, gentle soul. And my entire world.”
In Harlem, neighbors said Mr. Hernandez seemed in public to be a quiet, calm person.
Pedro Ramos, 44, who lives on the seventh floor of the building, said he had befriended Mr. Hernandez.
“He was a sane, good guy,” Mr. Ramos said with a tone of disbelief. “This shocks me.”
Jerome Selassie, 55, who owns the corner store across the street from the site of the shooting, said he saw Mr. Hernandez often and never knew him to be violent.
“I saw him last night, at around midnight,” Mr. Selassie said. “He was running to his apartment because it was raining. He waved at me. That was the last time I saw him. He looked O.K. to me.”
Officer Wintermute, 32, has been on the police force for seven years, working most of that time on patrol in the 32nd Precinct in Harlem. His wife is also a police officer.
During the struggle with Mr. Hernandez, Officer Wintermute was punched several times in the face and took the impact of the bullet hitting his Kevlar vest, officials said. Mayor Bill de Blasio said he was in “good spirits” after the shooting, and he was released from Mount Sinai St. Luke’s hospital a few hours later. Fellow officers applauded him as he was taken in a wheelchair to a waiting police van.
The police have shot and killed five people since Sept. 29, when Officer Brian Mulkeen and a armed man he was trying to arrest were killed in a police fusillade in the Bronx. Four of the shootings occurred in the past eight days.
On Oct. 15, in two separate encounters, officers fatally shot two armed men, one in the Gowanus Houses in Brooklyn and one at the 225th Street subway station in the Bronx. Two days later, also in the Bronx, a police sergeant shot and killed a man during a traffic stop.
Officer Mulkeen was the second officer to be killed by “friendly fire” this year. In February, Detective Brian Simonsen was hit in the chest and killed as he and other officers were firing at a robber in a cellphone store in Queens. The robber turned out to have a fake gun.
The police said Wednesday’s incident was the 47th time this year officers have discharged their weapons in confrontations with civilians. Ten of them have died.
“It’s high in the last couple of weeks, but it’s part of where we’ve been consistent in the last couple of years,” Chief Maloney said.
Ms. Martinez said Mr. Hernandez sometimes expressed fear for his mother’s safety because she was a police officer. But his family also feared for his.
“We always told them if the police stop you, you make sure you be respectful and give them whatever they want because you don’t want them to shoot you,” Ms. Martinez recalled. “It’s hard when you have minority children, especially boys, and you have to tell them that.”
Susan Beachy contributed research.