NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Two NYPD officers were shot during a 12-hour span Saturday night into Sunday morning, allegedly by the same gunman, sources told CBS2.
The suspect, identified as Robert Williams, 45, of the Bronx, initially shot at two officers, wounding one, as they sat in their marked police van in the Bronx, sources said, and later walked into the 41st Precinct, located at 1035 Longwood Avenue, and opened fire, wounding another officer.
The wounded cops’ injuries were non-life threatening. The suspect was quickly taken into custody after witnesses said his gun jammed. At a press conference Sunday morning, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said the man had served time in prison for attempted murder and was paroled in 2017. Sources told CBS2 the suspect had served 15 years of an 18-year prison sentence.
Shea said on Sunday the gunman entered the precinct through a public entrance before firing several rounds at point-blank range at uniform officers and a civilian member of the NYPD. A male lieutenant, identified by sources as Lt. Jose Gautreaux, was hit in the left arm and returned fire.
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Surveillance video within the precinct shows the suspect get down on the precinct house floor after his 9mm Sig Sauer pistol jammed. At least 12 officers moved in to detain him, CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported.
“It is only but the grace of God and the heroic actions of those inside the building that took him into custody that we are not talking about police officers murdered inside a New York City police precinct,” Shea said.
Williams was later arrested and charged with attempted murder, criminal possession of a weapon, and resisting arrest.
“It’s very preliminary in the investigation,” said Shea. “The male is in custody, we are speaking to a woman, and I would not describe her as a suspect.”
The suspect’s girlfriend, who sources told CBS2 is a probationary NYPD communications employee, is also in custody and was being questioned although she is not believed to be criminally responsible at this time.
Shea said the suspect was arrested in 2002 following a carjacking and shootout with police.
“Since then he has one recorded arrest and he happens to have court in the coming days for that arrest,” Shea said.
Lt. Gautreaux, a veteran with 15 years on the force, was taken to Lincoln Hospital and is expected to be released on Monday. It is the same hospital which took in wounded Officer Paul Stroffolino from Saturday night’s ambush on the street. Stroffolino was celebrated with thunderous applause as he left the hospital Sunday morning, his brothers and sisters in blue showing their support and all very aware he is lucky to be alive, CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported.
At press conference late Saturday night, Shea had called the first shooting “an assassination attempt at two New York City police officers,” language again echoed by Mayor Bill de Blasio on Sunday morning.
“We need to use that word, because it was a premeditated effort to kill — and not just to kill other human beings, but to kill those who wear a uniform that represents all of us,” de Blasio said on Sunday.
For the second time in 12 hours, a
NYPD cop has been targeted & shot.
This morning, a man walked into the 41 Precinct & began shooting at uniformed officers. One male lieutenant was struck in the arm, and
taken to the hospital &, thankfully, is expected to make a full recovery. https://t.co/R9Hi1en02t
— Commissioner Shea (@NYPDShea) February 9, 2020
In the Saturday night attack, Shea said the two officers were assigned to a drug-prone area in the Longwood section near East 163rd Street and Barretto Avenue.
Just before 8:30 p.m., a man approached the officers in the van and engaged them in conversation. Shea said it’s believed he was asking for directions.
Investigators said two shots struck Officer Stroffolino, who was driving, once in the chin and once in the neck. The other officers was not injured and neither returned fire, police said.
“This once again shows how dangerous these streets can be for New York City police officers,” Police Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch said. “Don’t take lightly the words ‘an attempted assassination.’ An attempted assassination because they were in a marked van with their turret lights going in a New York City police officer’s uniform. We cannot allow this to happen.”
Anyone who has information regarding this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-8477 or for Spanish, 1-888-577-4782. Tips can also be sent to the NYPDTips Twitter account or submitted online at NYPDCrimeStoppers.com.