INWOOD, Manhattan (PIX11) — The family of the 29-year-old man fatally shot by police in Inwood early Sunday is mourning his loss.
“I will remember my brother for the loving man he was and how his smile brightened the room,” said Joel Capellan’s sister, Kayla Capellan.
Joel Capellan was shot dead by police at 3 a.m. on the corner of Dyckman Street and Nagle Avenue in Inwood. Police said four members from the 34th Precinct saw a fight on the street and someone holding a gun.
The four officers shot multiple rounds at Capellan. He was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
“They give commands for the person to drop their firearm … then at some point officers discharged their weapons,” said NYPD Chief of Patrol Jeffrey Maddrey.
Police released a photo of the weapon they allege Capellan was holding but it is not clear if he had pointed the weapon at the officers.
“He never had a gun. He didn’t have a gun,” his sister said.
At a nearby walk for peace to stop gun violence, Mayor Eric Adams defended the officers’ actions.
“Officers repeatedly said drop your gun, drop your gun,” Adams said. “They want to go home to their loved ones and they want people in the community to go home to their loved ones.”
Police said Capellan had eight prior arrests, including robbery, gang assault, and criminal sale of a controlled substance, but his family said he was trying to turn his life around.
“We all make mistakes,” said his cousin Denise Capellan. “He came home almost a year and he was trying to be a better person.”
“All he wanted to be was happy. He was getting his life together,” Kayla said.