Thursday, December 15, 2005

Officer killed in Bronx shootout; actor is suspect

Friends of ours: Soprano Crime Family

A young police officer dying from a bullet to his chest shot two burglars early Saturday, one of them identified as an actor who played a misfit mobster on "The Sopranos." The wounded suspects were quickly captured. Investigators identified one as Lillo Brancato Jr., an actor who got his break in the Robert De Niro-directed film "A Bronx Tale" in 1993, and played doomed mob wannabe Matt Bevilacqua during the 1999-2000 season of "The Sopranos: The Complete First Season." Brancato, 29, of Yonkers, was also arrested in June for alleged heroin possession.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the actor and another man were breaking into a vacant home when Officer Daniel Enchautegui, who had just finished a late-night shift, heard the sound of smashing glass next door. Enchautegui was off duty and in his street clothes, but he alerted his landlord and dialed 911 to report a possible burglary in progress. Then he grabbed his badge and a gun and went out to investigate.

His landlord heard Enchautegui shout, "Police! Don't move!" followed by a burst of gunfire, Kelly said. Enchautegui, 28, collapsed in the driveway of his home in the Bronx borough and died shortly afterward.

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