updated 3/13/2011 8:39:33 PM ET 2011-03-14T00:39:33

Police say a New York City officer responding to a domestic violence call was preparing to take a suspect into custody when the man shoved him over a railing and he fell 9 feet down a cement stairwell to his death.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly says 42-year-old Officer Alain Schaberger landed on his head and broke his neck early Sunday. He was pronounced dead at Lutheran Hospital.

Kelly says Schaberger and other officers were responding to a domestic violence call in Brooklyn. Police were trying to take the man into custody when he began to resist while one hand was cuffed and pushed the officer over the railing with both hands.

The suspect, identified as 42-year-old George Villanueva, was arrested on charges of murder, assault and criminal contempt of court. Police say he has a history of domestic violence arrests. It was not immediately clear if he had a lawyer.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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