Again Hermelinda answered the door. As she let the youths in, Brosnan and Crowe came storming in from the kitchen. The two detectives ordered the Rodriguez' to wait in the bedroom while also ordering the three to drop their weapons and put their hands up. Brosnan and Crowe next ordered Vega, Rosario, and Bonilla to lie on the floor. What exactly happened next is not clear. What we do know is that sometime later Brosnan and Crowe fired 28 bullets. 8 hit Vega. 14 hit Rosario. 6 missed. One bullet ricocheted and hit Bonilla in the ankle.
Originally the cops said that Rosario had reached for his gun and fired first. We now know that this was not true. All 28 shots were fired by the cops. We also know that some of those bullets were Teflon coated. Illegal, they are commonly referred to as cop killer bullets because of their ability to penetrate police vests. How and why did Brosnan and Crowe get their hands on them? Were the two there with the intention of assassinating Vega and his friends? If so, why did they spare Bonilla?
After getting their stories straight, Brosnan claimed that he shot Vega once Vega made a sudden lunge after refusing to relinquish his weapon and drop to the floor. While Rosario and Bonilla did initially drop to the floor, Rosario later spun around, grabbed his gun and turned to shoot Crowe. Crowe's gun went off before Rosario's. This despite the fact that it was Brosnan and not Crowe who was in the midst of killing Vega. This also despite Freddy Bonilla's claim that none of their guns were even loaded. All empty.
According to Margarita Rosario, Freddy was spared simply because the cops ran out of bullets. From what Freddy had told her, the cops got them all down on their stomachs. Brosnan recognized Hilton as the ring leader and repeatedly shot him in the back. Antonio and Freddy looked in horror as the bullets sprayed. When Antonio cried "Why are you doing this? We're not resisting!" Crowe, for the first time in his career, pulled the trigger. 14 times. Freddy froze and said nothing. His ankle wound, the result of a ricocheted bullet. Uniformed police officers responding to calls of the commotion arrived before Brosnan and Crowe could reload and execute Freddy as well, but not before they were able to turn over the bodies of Hilton and Antonio and hide the fact that they were all laying face down on the floor.
Two months later a grand jury convened at a Bronx Criminal Court. With the help of a dubious autopsy report put together by a city medical examiner, one which hid the fact that all three men were on their stomachs, and with help of a testimony from both Jorge and Hermelinda Rodriguez, the grand jury voted 12-8 to not charge the officers of any wrong doing. Bronx D.A. Robert T. Johnson, never known for going after cops, didn't even ask Freddy Bonilla, the only surviving eye witness, to testify on his own behalf. Brosnan and Crowe were free to walk and neither was ever disciplined in any way. Not even for using Teflon coated bullets. Both officers remained on the force for another year before retiring with disability pensions for hearing loss which they both claimed occurred as a result of their shootings.
Jorge and Hermelinda Rodriguez benefited from the shootings as well. With their apartment a crime scene, the two were moved the following morning. Not moved temporarily into a hotel, but instead, the couple was moved into a brand new new apartment provided for by officers of the 46th precinct. At the grand jury trial they were represented by Neil Cohen a high powered PBA attorney brought in by members of the 46th precinct. In later years it was discovered that the Rodriguez' received death threats from other unpaid illegal marriage recruits. Despite living in a new apartment located inside the 44th precinct, the Rodriguez' turned to the 46th precinct to file their reports. Neither has ever been charged for their long running marriage racket.
Jon Osman's doc makes many mentions of the Rodriguez' and of course, the shootings, but his main emphasis is on Margarita Rosario, mother of Antonio Rosario and aunt of Hilton Vega.
A housewife who during the heated 1993 campaign voted for Giuliani in hopes of bringing order back to the lawless Bronx streets, she starts her quest by filing a grievance with the CCRB. The CCRB was then headed by community activist and civil rights lawyer, Hector W. Soto. Despite the grand jury vote, the CCRB issued subpoenas to Brosnan, Crowe, other members of the 46th precinct, including Edward Murphy, as well as the Rodriguez' to re-examine the shootings. Only Jorge and Hermelinda failed to show for testimonies. Ironically, their old living room floor, taken by the police as evidence was mysteriously lost. As were the bullets that allegedly were in the guns of Vega, Rosario, and Bonilla. Without the floorboard or the bullets, Soto grew suspicious. When an independent autopsy proved Freddy Bonilla's claims that all three were indeed lying face down at the time of the shootings, Soto concluded that the two officers were not justifiable in this double homicide. His findings, revealed in July of 1995, were immediately hit with the blue wall of silence.
Unable to get any further with then-Police Commissioner, William Bratton, or the Giuliani administration, Soto retired in protest. Some accounts claim he was pushed out by Giuliani appointed CCRB representatives. Either way his case stalled and after leaving the CCRB, all of Soto's investigators were either fired or reassigned by his successor, Gene Lopez.