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'A Bronx Tale' gone bad: Actor in custody

Former detective Dietl talks about murder of NYC cop and Lillo Brancato Jr.,

Lillo Brancato Jr., who co-starred in 'A Bronx Tale' and appeared in several episodes of 'The Sopranos,' is now in the news in New York for another reason.

The actor is waiting to be charged with the murder of New York City police officer Daniel Enchautegui, who was fatally shot early Saturday morning after responding off duty to a robbery in at a neighboring house. 

After being fired at, Enchautegui returned fire and hit Brancato and his friend Steven Armento six times.  Both remain in the hospital in stable condition awaiting charges.

On Monday, former police detective Bo Deitl, who knows Brancato joined MSNBC's Dan Abrams on 'The Abrams Report' to talk about the case.

To read an excerpt from their conversation, continue to the text below. To watch the video, click on the "Launch" button to the right.

DAN ABRAMS: All right.  So, what you do make of this?  I mean, that I know that your first reaction is going to be condolences and sympathy for the police officer, right? 

BO DIETL:  That's the first thing I'm going to talk about is this cop was a real hero.  We did it by the book.  He went and called 911.  Said 'I'm an officer.  I'm going to be out there with a gun.'  He had a shield around his neck.  He is a hero.  And what they could have done is they could have given up to him.  Why did they have to shoot this young man?  I feel so horrible for this young man.  All he wanted to do was his job, someone was breaking into a house.  It was stupid burglary, that's all it was. 

ABRAMS:  When you say he went by the book.  We should explain even more.  Basically, he hears the window broken, he calls the super next door and says, all right.  Did you here that.  Super says no.  All right.  I'm going to call the police.  He calls the police.  Says look I'm going out there.  Here's what I'm going to be wearing. 

DIETL:  His badge around him. 

ABRAMS:  Exactly.  Badge around his neck.  The point being, I don't want any friendly fire.  I want to make sure that I do everything right in this case. 

DIETL:  This young man is a real hero for this city.  And that's the first thing I want to put down right.  I give my deepest sympathy to his family and we lost a real hero here in New York City. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Let's move on now to Brancato.  Now, how did you know this guy?

DIETL:  Well, I met him when we were doing a film.  I was doing it with Marty and Michael Bregman.  We doing a film called "Table One."  And we casted him along with Chuck Zito as a chef.  And I got to know him then.  And he seemed like a pretty nice person.  Obviously, he's not that nice of a person to be involved in something like that. 

ABRAMS:  Well, you know, I had read someone saying today that he had a particular affinity for the police.  Meaning would sort of talk all the time about what great work the police do, et cetera.  Did he say anything like that to you? 

DIETL:  When he knew I was a retired detective, he really became friendly.  I used to see him in restaurants.  I spoke about him -- I was down in Palm Beach on Friday night.  I was talking to Noel Ashman, a big club owner her in New York.  He was talking about Chazz Palminteri writing a screenplay about Noel Ashman.  And they were thinking about Lillo to play the part. 

And he said to me that night, I said, 'Oh I love Lillo.  What a nice guy.  He would be great to play the part.'  This past Friday night when, I heard this job in Palm Beach, I was shocked.  And I'm still shocked that this kid could go so far down into the sewer to be involved.  And this other creep that shot this poor, young cop, I mean, what was the reason for it?  You get caught for breaking the window -- attempted burglary, whatever it is, you're going to get maybe a couple of months.  But to kill a human being, a cop like that, it's horrible. 

ABRAMS:  Did you know about his drug problem, Bo? 

DIETL:  I did not hear about it.  When I read was the first time I knew.  When I would see him, I would see him up at restaurants up in Nino's on First Avenue, he'd come over, 'Bo, how you doing?  What's going on?'
And I just -- I always liked the kid.  He was really a personable person.  And it just shows you what drugs can do to you and alcohol can do to you and your judgment.  Him hanging around with this other guy, this other guy has a sheet on him.  He's been arrested a few times.  Even Lillo, I see, has been arrested for drugs also.  I did not know that prior.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Bo, a final word on-let's end with a thought about the police officer. 

DIETL:  All I can say is that my heart goes out to this family and that poor officer Dillon that died last week.  These are our real heroes.  Without them out there, there would be anarchy.  People robbing our houses and people would be killing people.  These are the real heroes.  And this young man is a real hero.  And my heart goes out to him and his family.

Watch the 'Abrams Report' for more analysis and interviews on the top legal stories each weeknight at 6 p.m. ET on MSNBC TV.