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Man Planned Own Shooting by Cops

November 17, 1997

NEW YORK (AP) _ By most accounts, Moshe ``Moe″ Pergament was a well-mannered college student. So polite that he addressed a note to police apologizing for what he was about to do. So polite he wrote a stack of goodbye cards to his loved ones.

On Friday night, Pergament, depressed over a reported $6,000 in gambling debts, got himself shot to death by police on Long Island by pointing what turned out to be a toy gun at them, police said.

Police call it ``suicide by cop″ _ and they’ve seen it before.

``I’m sorry to get you involved,″ the 19-year-old Pergament had written in a letter addressed in advance to ``the officer who shot me!″

``I just needed to die,″ he wrote.

Neighbors and fellow students said Pergament, a Nassau Community College sophomore and son of a well-to-do Long Island developer, was quiet, polite, well-liked and seemingly carefree.

Pergament bought a $1.79 silver-colored toy revolver on the day of his death. He also went to a card store near his home in Manhasset and bought nine greeting cards that he made out to family and friends.

``He looked like he was really depressed,″ said Solange Ramirez, a clerk at the card store.

According to police, Pergament was speeding and driving erratically on the Long Island Expressway, apparently in an effort to get stopped. When Officer Thomas Pollock pulled the car over in Syosset, Pergament jumped out and began waving his arms wildly.

Pollock ordered Pergament back into the car, and Pergament pulled the toy revolver from his waistband. A second officer, Anthony Sica, arrived.

Police said Pergament began advancing, ignoring commands to drop the gun. The two officers fired a total of as many as three shots.

Police have not revealed the contents of the goodbye cards, found in the car with Pergament’s suicide note. The note read:

``Officer, It was a plan. I’m sorry to get you involved. I just needed to die. Please send my letters and break the news slowly to my family and let them know I had to do this. And that I love them very much.

``I’m sorry for getting you involved. Please remember that this was all my doing. You had no way of knowing. Moe Pergament.″

Police believe Pergament was distressed over gambling debts, reportedly $6,000 lost on last month’s World Series.

Nassau County District Attorney Denis Dillon said no charges will be brought against the officers, who remain on duty. Both are former New York City officers who had been on the Nassau County force since 1992. Sica received two awards for saving lives, and neither officer has been subject to any disciplinary action.

Pergament lived with his parents in Manhasset Hills. The family has an unlisted number, and a man who identified himself as Pergament’s brother told Newsday the family had no comment.

In a 1989 case of ``suicide by cop,″ a New Rochelle man who had told friends ``Police will kill me. I want to meet the Lord″ was shot to death after aiming what looked like a submachine gun at an officer. His weapon turned out to be a water gun.

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