Gunman charged in 2 ‘assassination attempts’ on NYPD officers in the Bronx
The gunman accused of shooting two officers in less than 12 hours over the weekend was arraigned at Bronx Criminal Court Monday.
A lieutenant and officer were shot on two different days, and police have arrested the man they believe is connected to both shootings.
Police say the shooter, 45-year-old Robert Williams, fired a gun at both of the men. He now faces 27 counts of attempted murder, criminal possession of a weapon and resisting arrest charges.
Williams is being held without bail.
The support for the officers shot over the weekend was evident as members of the NYPD showed up in big numbers and packed the courtroom.
Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch praised the judge for keeping Williams behind bars. He also called out elected officials for not being there today.
"It's not too late to stand on that soapbox and say, 'We support police officers. We made a mistake in the past.' It's not too late to stand on that soapbox and say, 'My words against police officers did damage. My words got in the heads of criminals on the street who thought they were safe enough to try to kill police officers," said Lynch.
He also warned correction officers to protect themselves because he says a "cop killer" is now coming to their facility.
Police say Williams was caught on camera walking into the 41st Precinct Sunday and started shooting toward the desk area when he opened fire.
Lt. Jose Gautreaux was struck in the left arm before Williams surrendered. Lt. Gautreaux was released from NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln Monday afternoon.
Just 12 hours earlier, he went after two cops sitting inside a police van. Officer Paul Stroffolino was with his partner Saturday night in Hunts Point when the gunman walked up to the van and opened fire.
Only Stroffolino was shot. He was released from the hospital Sunday where officers greeted him as he was escorted out. Stroffolino is still recovering from gunshot wounds to the neck and chin.
Williams has an extensive criminal history. Police say he was paroled in 2017 for an incident in 2002 where he was convicted of attempted murder for shooting a person, carjacking a woman and then getting into a gunfight with officers.
Both the lieutenant and the officer are expected to make a full recovery.
Officials are emphasizing is that it was a clear assassination attempt and it's a reminder what the job is like for hundreds of police officers.
Williams is due back in court on Feb. 14.