By ADAM MILLER and DEVLIN BARRETT
A Long Island teen who had a "death wish" because of a
$6,000 World Series gambling debt used a $1.75 toy gun to force cops to shoot and kill
him, police said yesterday. The shaken officers were stunned to find a suicide note inside
the man's car apologizing for making them kill him.
"Tell the police officers that I'm sorry, but I wanted to
die," read the note from 19-year-old Moshe Pergament. Pergament, a student at Nassau
Community College, "had a death wish," said Officer Bruce Benson. The previous
day, he told a female friend he wanted to kill himself because he owed $6,000 from World
Series gambling, cops said.
The Manhasset Hills teen was driving erratically on the Long Island
Expressway on Friday night in an apparent effort to getpulled over, police said. After
stopping on the shoulder of the highway in Syosset, Pergament leaped out of the car,
pulled a silver-colored gun from his waistband and began waving it at the cop who had
pulled him over, Officer Thomas Pollack.
Pollack backed away behind his patrol car and ordered Pergament to
drop his gun. But the distraught teen kept walking forward, pointing the toy gun - which
looked "very real" - at the cop, said Benson. At that point, another cop,
Anthony Sica, arrived at the scene. The teen turned the toy gun on Sica and began walking
toward him, ignoring the cop's repeated commands to drop the weapon. When Pergament came
within 12 feet of Sica, the officer fired three shots, police said.
Incredibly, the wounded man kept walking toward Sica. Pollack then
fired one shot at the teen, and Pergament collapsed to the ground, officials said. It
wasn't until after the shooting that the cops inspected Pergament's "weapon" and
realized it was a fake.
"Those officers were put in a situation that no officer ever
wants to be in," said Benson. "They gave him every opportunity, and he backed
them into a corner." Benson, who is a close friend of one of the officers, added,
"These cops have to live with this for the rest of their lives."
Pergament's neighbors were shocked to hear about the teen they knew
as a happy young man who loved sports. "He was a darling boy," said neighbor
Marion Karnett, who nicknamed him "Handsome" because of his good looks and
smile. A friend who left after visiting the family said, "They're devastated. They're
speechless. They're just overcome with grief."
New York Post