BRONX, N.Y. – An NYPD officer, one of two department members shot over the weekend in an alleged assassination attempt, walked out of a Bronx hospital Monday as the accused shooter was held without bail.
Accompanied by the sound of police bagpipes, NYPD Lt. Jose Gautreaux was wheeled out of Lincoln Hospital in the afternoon, his mother and an aunt by his side and fellow officers greeting him.
The applause of colleagues gave way to cheers, a day after Gautreaux was shot in the upper left arm by a gunman who walked into the 41st Precinct stationhouse in the Bronx and opened fire, police officials said.
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea was at the hospital to greet Gautreaux.
“To have Jose walking out, springing out of the wheelchair…it is through the grace of God,” She said. “It is unbelievable.”
Police said the ambush-style attack Sunday morning in the Longwood Avenue stationhouse came less than 12 hours after the suspect, 45-year-old Robert Williams, seen below, approached a patrol van in the same part of the Bronx and fired at two officers inside, grazing the chin and neck of one of them, in what the police commissioner called an attempted assassination.
Williams was arrested moments after the 41st Precinct attack and taken to St. Barnabas Hospital.
At Williams’s arraignment, a prosecutor said the suspect told arresting officers that he committed the two shootings because he was “tired of cops.” And the prosecutor said Williams told officers at the hospital, “I am going to shoot one of you when I get out.”
Scores of NYPD officers packed a Bronx courtroom for the arraignment.
Williams did not speak as he was formally charged with 13 counts of attempted murder and other crimes.
Patrick Lynch, the president of the Police Benevolent Association union for uniformed officers, was in the courtroom.
“He didn’t try it just once; he tried it on the streets when he tried to assassinate two police officers. He then barged into the stationhouse,” Lynch said. “God knows how many he would have killed if his weapon did not jam and those police officers were not so alert.”
Williams has a long rap sheet, including three felony convictions, one of them for attempted murder. He is being held without bail and is expected back in court Friday.
Sources say his alleged accomplice is a 911 operator.
Both injured officers were expected to make full recoveries.
Officer Paul Stroffolino was released from Lincoln Hospital on Sunday. He was shot in the face while sitting in his police van with his partner Saturday night in the Longwood neighborhood.
Investigators said the suspect walked up to their van and started talking to the officers, then started firing shots into the van.
Police believe the same man opened fire at the 41st Precinct stationhouse around 8 a.m. Sunday, injuring Gautreaux.
Shea said the suspect was out on parole for a violent crime.
“He was paroled in 2017 for an incident in which an individual in the Bronx was shot, a subsequent carjacking of a female, and then a crash of a car where he engaged in a gunfight with members of the New York City Police Department,” Shea said.
“Anyone who spews hatred at our officers is aiding and abetting this kind of atmosphere, it’s not acceptable,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Police say they’re now working to see if the handgun recovered from the 41st Precinct was the same one used in Saturday night’s shooting.
Meanwhile, the Sergeant’s Benevolent Association declared war on the mayor Sunday night.
Lynch on Sunday said that he has been warning about threats against killing police officers since 2012.
Source: Spectrum News NY1 | The Bronx