Hookah lounge victim can’t explain his gunshot wound

Rodney Handy told police that he doesn’t know who shot him outside of a Castor Avenue hookah lounge on May 23. But police sure recognized him.

Handy is the same man whose March 2012 arrest for assaulting a cop near his Oak Lane home and his subsequent unconditional release from custody prompted internal affairs and grand jury investigations of two senior police commanders.

Now police are trying to identify the men responsible for beating up Handy and shooting him in the foot in a brawl that apparently spilled into the street from the nearby Pasa La Hookah Lounge. Surveillance video from a nearby business shows the melee going down in the middle of the 6700 block of Castor Ave. at about 6:30 a.m. that Saturday. Police released the one-minute, 24-second, clip publicly on Tuesday.

Officially, police did not release the identity of the victim, but department sources have confirmed it was the 25-year-old Handy.

Patrol cops from the 2nd district responded to the scene after someone called 911 to report multiple gunshots. They found six empty .40-caliber shell casings in the street and a trail of blood leading to a white 2003 Toyota Avalon. Handy was inside the car. He had a gunshot wound of the left foot as well as fresh cuts and bruises.

Police described Handy as uncooperative upon questioning. The victim stated that he recalled driving the car, stepping outside of it and getting shot. He said he didn’t know who shot him or why. Handy said he has a permit to carry a gun and he owns a .40-caliber pistol, but police found no firearms in his car.

Paramedics took him to Aria Health’s Torresdale Campus in stable condition. He underwent surgery to repair his foot.

According to a police source, employees of the hookah lounge said that they were at the business, heard gunshots and saw several men fleeing the scene, but they did not identify any of the suspects. One witness said he saw a man placing a gun in his waistband. The lounge is technically a BYOB with a license to allow indoor smoking, a police source said.

The video shows more than a half-dozen men involved in punching and kicking. It also shows Handy being knocked to the ground, possibly unconscious. Police described the suspected gunman as a black man with a white tank top. His image appears in the video.

Handy’s March 2012 arrest also involved his white Toyota. According to the Daily News, police investigating a report of gunshots stopped Handy in his car near his home on the 6300 block of E. Fariston Drive. Handy allegedly refused to exit the vehicle and struggled with two patrol officers, injuring one. One of the cops Tased Handy.

With Handy in custody, his grandfather, retired Capt. Arthur Woody, allegedly contacted Inspector Aaron Horne, then the commander of North Central Division, and asked him to drop the case against Handy. Horne allegedly ordered Capt. John McCloskey, then the commander of the 35th district, to release Handy and dispose of the arrest records.

Handy now has no criminal record. He reportedly got $85,000 cash out of the deal as the city paid him to drop a lawsuit he filed against the two patrol cops who locked him up that day and the police department. ••