A 22-year-old man from China who came to the U.S. several years ago and lived in Brooklyn has pleaded guilty in the August 2013 shooting of a veteran Long Island police officer responding to a home burglary.
Cong Xu's guilty plea to assault and burglary charges Tuesday stemmed from the shooting of Nassau County police officer Mohit Arora, a 33-year-old who had been with the department six years at the time he was shot.
Arora was shot once in the groin as he responded to a home invasion in New Hyde Park; he was hospitalized for more than six months and had at least one surgery.
Arora was in court as Xu's plea deal was announced Tuesday. He said it has been a difficult time for him and his family. Arora has returned to work, but is only on light duty.
"I want to leave this bad dream behind me and move on," he said.
Xu is expected to get 30 years in prison when he is sentenced. His lawyer, Scott Tulman, said, "He feels genuine remorse for what happened but unfortunately there's nothing we can do about that now."
Arora's fellow officers joined him in court Tuesday in a show of solidarity.
"Thank God he wasn't killed," said James Carver of the Nassau PBA. "We've gone through five line-of-duty deaths since 2012, and we're all thankful this wasn't number six."
Prosecutors said Xu was running from the home on Campbell Street in New Hyde Park early Aug. 14, 2013, when he was confronted by officers. As he ran away, he allegedly turned and fired several rounds, hitting Arora, police said.
An alleged conspirator, Renhang Qiu, was also taken into custody at the scene of the shooting. Authorities had alleged he hatched the plan to rob the New Hyde Park home; the homeowners owned a takeout restaurant and authorities speculated the suspects had been after their cash.
Qiu pleaded guilty to burglary charges in May. He is expected to be sentenced to seven years in jail at a hearing later this month. According to Xu's lawyer, Qiu was prepared to testify against Xu.