A Harlem man, described by residents as ‘demented’, shot dead his upstairs neighbor and his wife and then set his own apartment on fire before fatally shooting himself in the head.
Bruce Anderson, who was known by residents as a ‘crazy man’ who had a penchant for ‘banging on doors,’ shot dead 79-year-old Hampton Smith in the hallway of their building on West 131st Street just after 2pm on Friday.
Police said Anderson shot Smith in the head with a single bullet.
Anderson then ran upstairs to Smith’s apartment and shot dead Smith’s wife, Yvette Rivera, 62, police said.
The 59-year-old Anderson then barricaded himself in his own apartment, according to the New York Daily News.
Emergency first responders rush one of the victims of Friday’s shooting in Harlem to a hospital
The incident took place at an apartment building on West 131st Street near Lenox Avenue in Manhattan on Friday
Police received reports of a shooting just after 2pm. They rushed to the scene and found three victims with gunshot wounds to the head
Police discovered Smith’s body in the first-floor hallway immediately after arriving at the building, according to The New York Times.
Officers then heard a man who had barricaded himself in a first-floor apartment yell: ‘Come and get it!’
At that point, police said they started to smell smoke coming from the apartment, prompting an emergency call to firefighters.
More than 100 firefighters rushed to the scene to put out the blaze.
While crews were trying to put out the fire, police officers forced their way into his apartment and found Anderson with what looked like a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Officers also recovered two guns from his apartment.
More than 100 firefighters rushed to the scene to put out a fire started by the gunman in his apartment building
Two firefighters suffered injuries that are not considered to be life-threatening
The image above shows one of the firetrucks used to put out the blaze in Harlem on Friday
Police officers and fire crews stand by in Harlem near the scene of the shooting
Police also came upon Rivera’s body on the second floor. She, too, died of a gunshot wound to the head.
Charles Diggs, who lives in the building next door, said he was about to take a nap on Friday afternoon when he heard a loud ‘boom.’
‘I thought they were doing some construction when I heard a couple of booms,’ he said.
‘It was like boom, then boom, and then a couple of seconds and I heard another boom.’
Diggs said he then started to smell something ‘peculiar.’
The shooting was said to have been motivated by a long-running feud between two neighbors
‘Then I saw the smoke.’
Mary Hall, who has lived on the building’s first floor for nine years, wasn’t at home when the incident took place.
She described Smith as ‘one of the nicest men I know.’
As for Anderson, she described him as ‘demented’ and someone who had ‘issues’ with the Smiths.
Another neighbor, Selina Nicholas, described Smith as someone who ‘was like Mr. Rogers, your uncle.
‘He was like a grandfather to the children,’ she said. ‘He loved children. He was everyone’s handyman.’
Anderson is said to have frequently complained about the noise made by Smith’s two cats.
The two men were said to have had a long-running feud over the cats that lasted a decade.
One firefighter suffered serious but non-life threatening injuries. Another firefighter suffered minor injuries.