LISTEN: Off-Duty Cop's 'Suspicious Male' with 'Hood Up' 911 Call Key to Vetrano Murder Case

By David Brand

The high-ranking NYPD officer whose 911 call about a “suspicious male” with a “hood up” in Howard Beach in May 2016 led to an arrest eight months later took the stand in Queens Supreme Court Thursday. For the first time, prosecutors played that emergency call in court.

We have the audio.

John Russo, the NYPD lieutenant commander of detectives overseeing all active investigations in the city, called 911 on Memorial Day 2016 to report that a “dark-skinned” “single male” was walking through a “100 percent residential” portion of Howard Beach “looking at houses.”

Russo described the suspect — later identified as Chanel Lewis — wearing a long-sleeved shirt and hood in warm weather that ignited his suspicions.

“To see a person dressed with long sleeves and hood up in warm weather seemed out place,” Russo, a white Howard Beach resident, said during testimony. “After several minutes of watching, I believed he was about to commit or had previously committed a burglary so I called 911 and reported a suspicious a male.”

In his call, Russo’s muffled voice described a vague suspicion about Lewis’ activity.

“Just walking up and down the block with a hood up,” Russo told the dispatcher.