Ex-NYPD Officer Pleads Guilty to Shooting Car while Drunk in Pelham
By Marcus Solis
ABC News, New York (September 22, 2015 06:31PM)
NEW YORK (WABC) -- A former New York City police officer is expected to be sentenced to nine years in a plea deal after he opened fire with his service weapon into an occupied car last year while drunk.
Brendan Cronin, 28, of Yonkers, was charged with attempted murder for firing 14 shots at a car stopped at a traffic light in Pelham in April 2014. Six of those shots hit Joseph Felice, of Westchester, who nearly died.
The bizarre shooting happened after Cronin had spent the day doing drills on vehicle stops while at a nearby NYPD training facility. Afterward, while off-duty, he went out for drinks and allegedly got kicked out of a City Island bar for fighting. He parked near Sixth Avenue and Lincoln Avenue, approached the Felice's car and started shooting.
He pleaded guilty to attempted murder, assault and drunken driving, and he has a week to turn himself in before being formally sentenced Dec. 2.
Felice was hit six times in the back, shoulder, arm and chest, and he has said he still has a bullet lodged in his chest and that his hand had to be rebuilt. He said the shooting ruined his life, and that he can't lift his 5-year-old son and must rely on his wife to drive him to his job as a salesman.
"The fact that I am standing here is a miracle," he said. "I recall lying on the trauma room table, staring up at the bright light and screaming, 'you have to save me.'"
Rob Borelli was in the car with Felice but wasn't struck, and he drove Felice to the hospital.
"I'd much rather see him here breaking down, because that means he's alive," he said. "And we can go forward from here."
Cronin has told prosecutors that he doesn't remember firing his weapon, suggesting he blacked out.
According to court documents, he told police he'd had 10 drinks of beer and whiskey before the shooting. Felice and Borrelli have filed lawsuits against Cronin, New York City, the NYPD and the officers Cronin was drinking with.
Randolph McLaughlin, an attorney representing Felice and Borrelli, said they are relieved by Cronin's guilty plea and "look forward to the truth coming out in the course of the civil case."
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