Gerardo Bugallo-Beret

Gerardo Bugallo-Beret

A former New York cop who fatally shot a man outside a Treme apartment building Thursday morning said he was defending himself from someone who had threatened to break another person's jaw, according to New Orleans police.

Nonetheless, investigators concluded that Gerardo Angel Bugallo Beret, 29, wasn't justified in shooting the man and booked him on a count of second-degree murder, according to Orleans Parish Criminal District Court records.

Police were still piecing together the deadly series of events Thursday morning based on accounts from Bugallo and two other witnesses. Each described parts of a confrontation in the parking lot outside an apartment building in the 1900 block of St. Ann Street about 8:15 a.m.

Bugallo claimed the man he shot had threatened to break the jaw of someone else, the court records show. Saying he felt threatened, Bugallo grabbed a gun and fired four shots, killing the man, police said.

Two other witnesses who spoke with police provided other views of what happened. They said the man Bugallo shot was speaking to a woman in the parking lot shortly before being killed.

One of those witnesses, a maintenance worker, was nearby. The shooting victim, who has yet to be named, asked the maintenance man, "What are you looking at?" while he and the woman spoke. Then Bugallo approached with a gun in his hand, told the maintenance man to “Move to the side” and fired, the witness said.

The other witness saw Bugallo — described as a second-floor resident of the building — approach the shooting victim as he spoke to the woman. Bugallo then went to his car in the parking lot, came back with a gun and began shooting at the other man, the witness said.

When police arrived, they found the man who was shot bleeding on the ground. Paramedics pronounced the man, who had multiple bullet wounds to his body, dead at the scene.

Police found the bald-headed Bugallo, in a green shirt and blue jeans, sitting in his car in the parking lot. They ordered him out of the vehicle and confiscated a handgun in his waistband.

An Orleans Parish judge set Bugallo's bail at $700,000 Friday morning. He remained in custody Friday afternoon.

Thursday’s shooting was not Bugallo's first brush with the law. While off-duty from his job as a New York Police Department officer in the South Bronx, Bugallo was accused of attacking a bouncer at a Greenwich Village saloon in May 2016. He was ticketed on a count of misdemeanor assault, the New York Daily News reported at the time.

The NYPD said Bugallo, who had joined the agency in 2014, left the force shortly after his arrest in that case. It doesn't appear that the case resulted in any charges. 

Follow Ramon Antonio Vargas on Twitter, @RVargasAdvocate.