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Bank Officer Is Pulled Over and Slain on Drive Home
By PATRICK O'GILFOIL HEALY

Published: January 7, 2005


RANKLIN SQUARE, N.Y., Jan. 6 - A bank manager driving home from work on Wednesday night was pulled over, struck with a pistol and fatally shot here by a man posing as a police officer, the Nassau County Police said Thursday. The assailant is still being sought.

The bank manager, James Gottlieb, 49, of Garden City, was on his way home from the HSBC Bank branch in Cedarhurst at 7 p.m. when a
black sport utility vehicle appeared behind him with blue-and-white emergency light flashing on the dashboard , the police said.

Mr. Gottlieb pulled over in front of 190 Semton Boulevard, but when he got out of his car, the gunman ordered him to lie down and said he was under arrest. The police said the gunman wore a dark hooded sweatshirt and not a police uniform.

The men began to argue when Mr. Gottlieb demanded to see the man's police identification. The gunman refused, then demanded Mr. Gottlieb's car keys and threatened to handcuff him, the police said.

Both men grew angrier, and the attacker struck Mr. Gottlieb with a pistol.

When Mr. Gottlieb started walking toward a nearby house to get help, the gunman fired three shots, hitting Mr. Gottlieb in the leg and arm, and one shot was believed to have severed an artery, the police said. The police said they found shell casings at the scene, but would not say what type they were.

The police would not comment on any possible motive.

The shooting occurred in a middle-class residential neighborhood, where the homes still have Christmas lights up and reindeer on the lawn. It set off a flurry of 911 calls, since it happened as families were sitting down to eat and watching television with their children.

A nearby resident who gave his name only as Daniel, saying he did not want the killer to be able to identify him, said he heard three pops and looked out his window to see the gunman inspect Mr. Gottlieb and walk back to his vehicle. He said the man drove away a moment later, his flashing light off.

"The guy was very cool," he said. "He was not in a hurry. I thought it was a cop. He was very sure what he was doing."

Mr. Gottlieb, still conscious and lucid after being shot, told Daniel what had happened and lay down in the back seat of his car to wait for help to arrive. He was shot at 7:06 p.m., arrived at Mercy Medical Center at 7:35 p.m., and was pronounced dead at 8:14 p.m., police and hospital officials said.

The police said they believe Mr. Gottlieb bled to death, but they said a police ambulance had responded swiftly.

"It was a devastating wound he suffered," Nassau Detective Lt. Dennis Farrell said. "It resulted in a tremendous loss of blood."
 
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