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December 3, 2023

Man kills 4 people including two children before setting house on fire, stabbing police

By Adam Schrader

Dec. 3 (UPI) -- A man who killed four members of a family, including two children, before setting the house on fire and stabbing two NYPD officers who responded, was shot dead Sunday morning by one of the officers he slashed.

The two officers responded to a 911 call around 5:10 a.m. in Far Rockaway, a residential neighborhood on the beach, NYPD Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey said in a news conference from Jamaica Hospital in the Queens borough of New York City.

The 911 caller was described as a young female who said that her cousin was killing her family members at a home at 467 Beach 22nd Street, Maddrey said.

"I just want to kind of set the stage for you. It's a residential block with homes on it but at this particular location there's a driveway and you go up the driveway and you go to the end of the driveway, there's another four or five private two-homes there," he said.

So, our officers pull up to the driveway. As they get to the driveway, they see a male pulling out. He's carrying luggage. Our officers ask the male a question or two in an encounter that lasted about ten seconds where the male draws a knife on the officers."

The man used a kitchen steak knife to stab one of the officers in the neck and chest area and slash the second officer in the head. One of the officers, a 28-year veteran of the department, was able to draw his firearm after being stabbed and shot the suspect.

The two veteran officers were taken to Jamaica Hospital, where they are expected to recover. The suspect was declared dead at an area hospital.

Relief officers sent to the location to continue the investigation found an 11-year-old girl dead from her injuries in front of the house but were not able to enter because of a fire inside the living room.

"It seems that he lit the couch at the front of the location on fire as he was leaving," said Joseph Kenny, the NYPD's chief of detectives.

FDNY firefighters responded and they were able to put out the fire. When the fire was extinguished, police found a 12-year-old boy, a 44-year-old woman and a 30-year-old man dead inside a back room. Another victim, a 61-year-old woman, is in critical condition at the hospital and is expected to die.

Kenny identified the suspect as Courtney Gordon, 38, but did not identify any of the victims. Gordon has one prior arrest for strangulation domestic violence incident in the Bronx but previously had no contact with police at the location in Far Rockaway.

"It seems he was a Bronx resident who was visiting family members," Kenny said.

Maddrey commended the two officers, handling the midnight shift in a beachfront neighborhood known for its violence.

"They did an excellent job. They could have easily let him walk past with his luggage. But they asked him to stop, tried to get some intel," Maddrey said. "Unfortunately, they were met with the perpetrator essentially and he went right at them."

Patrick Hendry, the president of the New York Police Benevolent Association, one of the nation's largest police unions, also delivered remarks from the press conference, earning nods of agreement from Maddrey for his comments.

"This shows that police officers never know what they're responding to, and what's waiting for them on that scene. This scene was chaos. Multiple victims. A house on fire. And a madman on a rampage. On a mission. I'm thankful that these police officers showed up," Hendry said.

"How many more victims could there have been if these skilled professional police officers did not show up to the scene?"