"I'm Just Sorry He's Not Dead"

Convicted murderer unrepentant after allegedly shooting his parole officer

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCNewYork.com
    Witnesses said the suspect was waiting calmly to meet with his police officer right before he shot him.

    A convicted murderer accused of shooting his parole officer in a state office says his only regret is that the victim survived.

    Robert Morales called out "I'm just sorry he's not dead,'' as he was led past reporters Friday on the way to his arraignment at a Brooklyn courthouse.

    The 50-year-old is charged with attempted murder in Thursday's shooting inside a state Division of Parole reporting office.

    The officer, 49-year-old Samuel Salters, underwent nearly four hours of surgery at Bellevue Hospital to repair the severe damage to his organs, and suffered a pair of heart attacks since the shooting. He was listed in stable condition at Bellevue on Friday.

    State Division of Parole spokesman Marc Violette said Morales had an appointment with Salters when he suddenly pulled out a handgun and shot him once through the right shoulder. Morales had been sitting calmly in a waiting room minutes earlier, waiting for his name to be called and concealing a 9 mm Ruger pistol, authorities said.

    Morales allegedly had planned to shoot Salters in the face, according to published reports, and then die in a blaze of fire from law enforcement agents trying to subdue him. Before he could fire another shot, the weapon jammed, officials said -- and another parole officer tackled him.

    Outside the court Friday, Salters told reporters that Salters deserved to be shot.

    Prosecutors say Morales, who was on parole for killing an 8-year-old boy in an arson fire in 1979, felt that Salters was bullying him.

    The suspect's childhood friend, Chuck DeJesus, said Morales and Salters had beef going back years ago. Despite those tensions, Salters was assigned to his case -- and the bad will escalated.

    Morales "felt that when they switched him to this guy, that he was never going to get off parole," DeJesus told The New York Post.

    The state parole office in Jamaica, Queens, had no metal detector at the entrance.

    Gov. David Paterson said in a statement released Friday that he had ordered an "in-depth review of security measures at parole offices throughout the State."