The New York City man who asked police officers to kill him in early April after a positive diagnosis for coronavirus has died from the disease, police said Thursday. Richard Cardona, 55, pointed a gun at police officers on April 1 and was shot seven times by two police officers. After he fell to the ground, the Bronx man asked the officers to "kill me," as seen in body camera footage released Thursday.
The incident began at around 1 a.m. on April 1, when Cardona called police to report a man with a knife in the lobby of his Westchester Square lobby, sources told the New York Post last month. When officers arrived at the scene, they saw Cardona carrying a knife covered in ketchup and an antique gun. The officers yelled at Cardona to drop both weapons, but he ignored the directions.
NYPD spokesman Sgt. Carlos Nieves said the responding officers, Xavier Marcus and Cindy Nieves, fired 11 shots at Cardona and stuck him seven times in the "lower extremities." When the officers approached Cardona, he asked them to "kill me." Marcus could be heard telling him, "No," but Cardona continued to plead, "Please kill me." Marcus told him to drop the gun again, but Cardona respond by asking, "Shoot me here. Shoot me here, please." More officers arrived and they got Cardona's knife and gun, which did not work.
Cardona told officers he was diagnosed with COVID-19 and "wanted to die by suicide by cop," Sgt. Nieves explained, reports the New York Daily News. Five days after the incident, Cardona died at Jacobi Hospital. The medical examiner said the preliminary cause of death was COVID-19 "complicated by underlying health conditions and gunshot wounds," Sgt. Nieves said.
Cardona's niece, Gabriella Marquez, told the Daily News Cardona tested positive for the coronavirus. He worked as a security guard and was suffering from COVID-19 symptoms for a few days before the incident. After he tested positive, Cardona was "upset," Marquez said, noting her uncle was "high-risk" due to his diabetes.
Those with diabetes do have a higher chance of facing serious complications from the coronavirus, according to the American Diabetes Association. However, people with diabetes are not more likely to get the disease than other people. The American Diabetes Association notes that the risk of getting "very sick" from COVID-19 could be lower if you manage your diabetes well. "When people with diabetes do not manage their diabetes well and experience fluctuating blood sugars, they are generally at risk for a number of diabetes-related complications," the association's website reads. "Having heart disease or other complications in addition to diabetes could worsen the chance of getting seriously ill from COVID-19, like other viral infections, because your body’s ability to fight off an infection is compromised."
If you or someone you know are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.