Outrage After 'Dangerous Criminal' with Long Rap Sheet Shoots NYPD Officer: 'Why Wasn't He in Jail?'

A man denounced by New York City’s police commissioner as a “dangerous criminal” who had been free to roam the streets despite pending charges shot a police officer Tuesday night.

Rameek Smith, 25, who was wounded in a subsequent shootout with police, died early Wednesday, according to the New York Post.

New York Mayor Eric Adams noted that Smith, who at the time was on probation for a 2016 robbery in Staten Island, had been arrested for criminal possession of a firearm in March 2020, according to Fox News.

Smith eventually pleaded guilty to the charge in December but had been free until his sentencing, which was scheduled for next month.

“Why wasn’t he in jail?” Adams — a former New York Police Department captain — said Tuesday night.

Earlier Tuesday, Officer Dennis Vargas and his partner were patrolling their section of the Bronx when they spotted Smith, who appeared to be carrying a weapon, the Post reported, citing police sources.

Police said Smith ran and the officers chased after him until he turned and fired two shots.

One shot hit Vargas, 32, who has been with NYPD for eight years. He was taken to a hospital and later released.

Smith was wounded in the shootout that followed.

Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell called him “a dangerous criminal who should not have been on the streets of the Bronx or anywhere else.”

Sewell said a gun found at the scene of the shooting had been reported stolen in Virginia.

Adams said this incident shows the need for a crackdown on those who evade subway fares. Smith’s 2020 arrest came after he was caught jumping a turnstile.

“People want to ask, ‘Why am I cracking down on fare evasions?’ That’s why. People want to ask why we conducted 300,000 station inspections. That’s why,” the mayor said.

“The number of shootings that we are responding to every night is despicable,” he said.

“We took 2,600 guns off our streets. The shooters of those guns are back on the streets just like this person is,” Adams added. “Under normal circumstances, you would see a decrease in crime in the city, but the same criminals are continuing to come out in our streets committing violence over and over again.”

“The city deserves better,” he said.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.