WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A former NYPD officer, who admitted firing at least 14 shots in an unprovoked attacked in Pelham two years ago, will serve nine years in state prison.
As CBS2’s Steve Langford reported, Brendan Cronin, 28, was sentenced Wednesday in White Plains. He pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted murder, two counts of assault and driving while intoxicated.READ MORE: COVID Vaccine Mandate Takes Effect For Workers At New Jersey Schools, Colleges, Universities And State Agencies
Robert Borelli and his friend Joseph Felice, both of New Rochelle, were headed home from a hockey game when Cronin pulled up next to their car at a red light and opened fire on April 29, 2014. Authorities said Cronin was off duty and drunk at the time.
Felice was shot six times and barely survived. He still has a bullet lodged in his chest, WCBS 880’s Kelly Waldron reported.
Cronin heard from the victims before his sentence was pronounced. Felice told his attacker in court what he remembered from the emergency room the night of the shooting.
“I knew I was dying. I was terrified,” Cronin said. “I cried and bawled: ‘You have to save me. I have a three year old.’”
“I can still remember the sounds off the back wheel well of the car of the gunshots and the glass breaking,” added Borelli, who was not physically injured in the attack.
Cronin did not offer an explanation for his actions when he entered his plea. He initially claimed he blacked out after a day of police weapons training and heavy drinking.READ MORE: FDA, CDC May Approve COVID Vaccine Booster Shots For Millions This Week
Felice shared his theory.
“He was doing vehicle takedown training for two days prior to the shooting so I think a combination of his training, his failure to deescalate from the training and his drunkenness all led to the shooting,” Felice said. “I believe, and this is my own personal belief, that he actually thought that he was back in the training facility.”
Felice said that explanation was “the only reason that I could think of that a police officer would be loitering at an intersection, see a car pulled up, then reach into his car, grab his Glock, take a bladed stance, and re-enact his training.”
Borelli talked about how he felt racing to the hospital.
“I know what it is like to be the hearse driving a corpse to its final destination,” he said. “I know the shock of believing your friend has been murdered while you sit just inches away from him.”
Cronin delivered an in-court apology that was blank and devoid of emotion, Langford reported.
“I will continue to pray daily as I have done since April 29th, 2014, for your physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing and healing,” Cronin said.
Felice and Borelli have filed a civil lawsuit against New York City and the NYPD.MORE NEWS: Sharee Jones Charged With Arson, Hate Crime After Fire At Brooklyn Yeshiva
Cronin was fired by the NYPD and will begin his sentence immediately.