New York Post
January 10, 2006

'KILLER': I HAD COP OUTGUNNED; BRAGS OF SUPERIOR FIREPOWER

By DENISE BUFFA

An actor's accused cop-killing cohort brazenly bragged to police that he outgunned the gutsy officer - comparing his powerful .357 Magnum to the cop's measly department-issued Glock, his written statement reveals.

Steven Armento, 48, said his firearm sent Officer Daniel Enchautegui flying though the air in the Bronx killing.

"He flew about 10 feet," Armento boasted in a two-page written statement he gave detectives. "That's what it would do to you, a .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum, .45 calibur [sic]. Not like those 9mm. They don't do nothing. Look what they do."

With that, Armento pointed to his legs to reveal superficial bullet wounds.

Experts say the .357 Magnum is significantly more powerful than a 9mm because the bullets are bigger and leave the gun nearly twice as fast.

Armento also details in his shocking admission what transpired the early morning of Dec. 10, when the off-duty Enchautegui heard glass breaking next door to his Pelham Bay home.

Armento and his alleged accomplice, Lillo Brancato Jr., who was in "The Sopranos" and Robert De Niro's movie "A Bronx Tale," had been boozing it up at the Crazy Horse, a strip club in The Bronx.

Armento told the cops they left early in the morning to get oral sex. But Brancato wanted more than sex. He told Armento he got Viagra, Valium and other pills from a friend's apartment three weeks earlier - and wanted to go back for more to "sell them," Armento's statement says.

Armento says he drove Brancato to the apartment.

"He could not drive," Armento says. "I can drink. I have drank a quart of Scotch and could drive."

Once they pulled up, Armento says he took his father's .357 Magnum out from under the front passenger seat of the car and dropped Brancato off.

"I was looking around, watching his back while he [Brancato] broke the window," Armento says in the statement.

There was nobody outside the apartment, but Armento says the two left and drove around for 15 minutes "to make sure there was no cops around" before going back.

The two then tried to get in through the broken window.

Enchautegui confronted the duo as they tried to make it back to their car through a driveway.

"The cop came out and said to Lillo, 'Don't move.' [Enchautegui] had a gun. We tried to run away to the car, but we ran towards the cop. The guy shot Lillo. Then he shot me," Armento says in his statement.

"I took out my gun when I saw him . . . And I thought I shoot [sic] him first, because I thought he was going to shot [sic] us.

"The cop flew back when I shot him into a military stance. He was going down. I hit him in the chest, and he was still shooting. We had to pass him to get out of the alley and to the car. He was still shooting.

"I think I shoot about four times. I know I hit him once. He flew about 10 feet . . . I then saw Lillo fall in front of me. I then collapsed."

Compared to a .357, "the 9 mm round is not as wide, does not travel as fast and does not penetrate as deeply," former Santa Monica, Calif., cop and firearms expert Frank Saunders said. "The .357 Magnum round leaves the gun faster and it's going to have much more stopping power."

Pat Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, said, "This [suspect's] statement shows this vermin to be a coldblooded, unremorseful cop killer, the poster boy for the reinstatement of the death penalty in New York state."