A wanted man running from police fell six stories to his death Tuesday while trying to make a 15-foot leap between Bronx rooftops, officials said.
Devon Wade, 28, scrambled through the window of a Morris Ave. apartment when cops came pounding on his door at about 6:30 a.m. Seconds later, officers from the NYPD’s Manhattan North Warrant Squad saw Wade shimmying up the building’s fire escape toward the roof.
They wanted to arrest him on a bench warrant on a fraud case from October 2013, and question him on an obstruction of governmental administration case, police sources said.
But before they could haul him in, Wade made the desperate leap, and landed between the two buildings.
“Get up! Get up! Oh my God! Oh my God!” Wade’s girlfriend, Janell Reid, 24, screamed as she looked over his crumpled body, a startling video obtained by the Daily News shows.
“Put a rush on a bus!” screamed a cop, a member of the NYPD Warrant Squad.
Emergency workers brought Wade to St. Barnabas Hospital, where he died, officials said.
"They came knocking on the doors, real hard,” said building superintendent Bernardo Pena, 47. “He goes to the roof and the cops yell, ‘Don't do it! Don't do it! You want to get shot? Don't do it!’”
The NYPD’s Force Investigations Division are reviewing Wade’s death.
An NYPD spokesman said officers were not on the roof when Wade fell. Cops in the courtyard saw him climbing up the fire escape as their colleagues tried to gain entry into the apartment.
Wade’s mother, Lisa Wade, said her son was scared of the police.
“They beat him up before,” she said. “He shouldn't have died that way. It's sad because the police are supposed to protect us. It's devastating,"“All he said was `I’m not doing anything,’ said Reid, who added that they were scheduled to get married in July. “He was petrified. It was total harassment, for a minor thing."
An ex-girlfriend, Deyona Moore, 28, said Wade had an 11-year-old daughter.
“My daughter's going to be devastated. She’s definitely a daddy's girl. She loves her father."
Wade had been arrested 19 prior times, mostly for drugs and other non-violent offenses, officials said.
Wade’s father, Antoine Wade, 52, said cops started their search for his son at his house at 5:45 a.m. before moving on to the apartment Wade shared with his girlfriend.
“He had a heart of gold,” the father said. “You don't expect these things. Cops have the authority to do whatever they want to do."
Neighbors Chris Collins said cops would often hassle Wade “for doing low level drugs.”
“I saw him last night at 12 a.m.,” said Collins, 53. “We were joking and stuff. He was happy. He was a good dude.”
"It’s crazy,” he added. “Nobody wants to go to Rikers. People die in Rikers. I would run too. He didn't mean to die. He just wanted to get away."