NBC New York
The man accused of gunning down a New York City police officer at point-blank range was charged Thursday with attempted murder -- a shooting that a prosecutor called an "evil act." John Noel reports.
The man accused of gunning down a New York City police officer at point-blank range was charged Thursday with attempted murder -- a shooting that a prosecutor called an "evil act."
Luis Ortiz was arraigned Thursday in a Brooklyn courtroom full of police officers, on a charge of attempted murder of a police officer. He's accused of shooting Officer Kevin Brennan on Tuesday.
In court, prosecutor Lewis Lieberman called the shooting "an evil act by an evil person." Ortiz was held without bail.
"This was an assassination attempt by this defendant against Officer Brennan, who showed Herculean strength in not firing his weapon," Lieberman said.
Lieberman said ballistics tests showed that the bullet that struck Brennan matches a gun found outside the apartment where Ortiz was apprehended.
But defense attorney Eric Poulos said there's no proof his client fired the gun. The criminal complaint states only that the two were struggling on the ground, and a gun went off. He criticized the prosecution's statements as overly theatrical.
"This isn't an effort to do an arraignment, this is a political speech" he said.
Scores of officers filled the courtroom, which fell silent as Ortiz was walked out. He was told at least twice to face the judge, and his family wasn't present.
Poulos said police beat up his client twice, at the scene and at the precinct, and that he had the bruises and chipped tooth to prove it. Ortiz has a lengthy record with at least 14 arrests and had been wanted for questioning in the city's first killing of 2012, on New Year's Day. No arrests have been made in that case.
Brennan, shot in the head, is at Bellevue Hospital and is expected to recover.
As Ortiz was led in handcuffs from a police precinct into a police car on Wednesday, he blew kisses to a crowd of relatives and yelled "I love you.''
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said surveillance video showed Brennan in a headlock, then being shot in an alcove and lying unmoving while the suspect flees. Police had been called to the area for a report of shots fired.
"The officer has his gun out, and you also see that Ortiz has a gun in his hand. They struggle and they fall into an alcove," Kelly said, describing the video. "You can't actually see the shooting but you see Ortiz with his arm around the officer's head, and then he's shot."