Cops shoot armed mentally-ill man 8 times after he set fire to his home, threatened firefighters — (New York Daily News)

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New York Daily News

BY Mark Morales , John Lauinger, DAILY NEWS WRITERS

Published: Sunday, November 21, 2010, 2:02 PM

A mentally-ill man armed with a shotgun and threatening to kill firefighters ran from his burning home in Long Island before he was shot by police.  Thomas Scimone, 48, was shot eight times in the Saturday night clash and was in critical condition on Sunday, Suffolk County cops said.
A relative of Scimone said she believed he was not taking his medication for bipolar disorder.   “When he was on his meds, you would never believe he was bipolar. He was happy-go-lucky,” said the relative, who only gave her first name, Jackie.

The drama began about 6:30 p.m., as volunteer firefighters arrived at Scimone’s home on Fourth St. in West Babylon.  Scimone, whose mental disorder forced him to retire recently from teaching auto mechanics at a technology school, set a fire in his living room. Cops said he then threatened to gun down responding firefighters.

Shotgun in hand, Scimone then hopped out a window and ran through the neighborhood.   Police spotted him on a nearby street minutes later. About seven officers – some on foot and others in police cars – followed him.

“For a good two minutes, as they were following him, they ordered him to ‘Stop! Drop the weapon! Put your hands up in the air!'” said Detective Lt. Gerard Pelkofsky, commander of the Suffolk police homicide squad.

Instead, Scimone whirled and pointed the 12-gauge shotgun at police. That’s when five cops opened fire, squeezing off about 40 shots, Pelkofsky said.   “They shot, he went down. Then he sat up, still holding the gun, and they kept shooting,” said Scimone’s relative, who lives next door to him. She said a detective gave her a rundown of the shooting.

“I don’t blame the police,” the relative added. “I thank them for keeping this neighborhood safe.”