New York City Police Officer Pleads Guilty to Attempted Murder in Drunken Shooting
By Al Baker
New York TImes, Sept. 22, 2015
A New York City police officer pleaded guilty to attempted murder on Tuesday for County last year, an unprompted, drunken attack that seriously injured a 47-year-old passenger.
Under a plea deal, the officer, Brendan Cronin, 28, will be sentenced to nine years in state prison in December, a spokesman for the Westchester district attorney, Janet DiFiore, said. The plea occurred in State Supreme Court in White Plains, the spokesman said.
The shooting, shortly before midnight on April 29, 2014, came amid a series of alcohol-fueled episodes involving off-duty police officers, something the city's police commissioner, William J. Bratton, said at the time had disturbed him. It came days before another embarrassing episode in which investigators said an intoxicated Brooklyn detective shot his partner in the wrist as the two sat in an unmarked patrol car.
Before Officer Cronin opened fire, he had been drinking alcohol for several hours at a bar on City Island after a day of tactical training at a Police Department facility on Rodman's Neck, in the Bronx, officials said.
Around 11:55 p.m., at the intersection of Sixth and Lincoln Avenues in Pelham, just north of the Bronx, Officer Cronin stood alongside the passenger side of a car being driven by Robert Borrelli, pointed a 9-millimeter Glock handgun and opened fire, according to a statement from Ms. DiFiore's office.
He fired at least 14 shots, officials said, hitting the passenger, Joseph Felice, six times — in the back, shoulder, arm and chest.
The sound of the gunshots echoed through the neighborhood, and a witness told the police she saw a baldheaded man, who turned out to be Officer Cronin, drive off in a sport utility vehicle with its hazard lights blinking.
A Pelham police officer pulled Officer Cronin over and took him into custody after ordering him, several times, to drop his gun.
Officials said the shooting appeared to be random. The authorities said Officer Cronin, of Yonkers, reported having no memory of the shooting.
Officer Cronin, who joined the Police Department in 2008, and had been assigned to the 46th Precinct in the Bronx, is suspended without pay, the police said. He pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted murder, two counts of first-degree assault and one count of driving while intoxicated, according to the district attorney's office.
Pierre Sussman, a lawyer for Officer Cronin, said his client was "intending to resign" from the Police Department.
"There are many factors that go into the decision to plead guilty in a case as complex as Mr. Cronin's," Mr. Sussman said in a text message. "Possible defenses, circumstances leading up to the crime and so forth.
"However," he added, "the single most important factor for my client was the deep and sincere remorse he feels for the harm caused" to both Mr. Borrelli and Mr. Felice.
"That will be with him for the rest of his life."
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