Police Shooting Suspect Charged After Monthlong Manhunt - NBC New York

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Police Shooting Suspect Charged After Monthlong Manhunt

John Thomas was arrested around 7 p.m. Sunday in the parking lot of a Pep Boys at Liberty Avenue and Merrick Boulevard



    John Thomas is behind bars after being on the run for a month. Police say they found evidence tying him to the crime scene. News 4's Pei-Sze Cheng has more from Kew Gardens. (Published Monday, Sept. 10, 2012)

    The man suspected of shooting a police sergeant in the leg last month was charged Monday after a month-long search with second-degree attempted murder and weapons possession, and first-degree assault, NYPD officials said.

    John Thomas, 24, of Queens, has been sought for a month, since police found his keys and other evidence that appeared to link him to the shooting of Sgt. Craig Bier in Jamaica, Queens on Aug. 9.

    Thomas was arrested around 7 p.m. Sunday in the parking lot of a Pep Boys at Liberty Avenue and Merrick Boulevard. He was taken into custody accompanied by a lawyer, police said. He is expected to be arraigned Tuesday.

    Thomas' lawyer, Ikiesha Al-Shabazz, said in a statement that his client is innocent.

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    "I have serious questions about how Mr. Thomas' name was injected into this case considering he doesn't fit the description of the shooter," Al-Shabazz said, adding that police initially said they were looking for a man who was six-foot-four, but Thomas is five-foot-eleven. 

    Bier, 44, was shot in the leg.

    Last month, sources said cops tracked keys left at the scene of the shooting to an apartment in the South Jamaica Houses registered in Thomas' name, and his fingerprint was found on the magazine of a gun recovered at the scene last night.

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    Thomas, 24, is a person of interest in a June shooting, sources said, and has an extensive criminal record with at least 17 prior arrests.

    Bier was patrolling the area near 107th Avenue and Union Hall Street on Aug. 9 as part of a plainclothes Queens gang-suppression unit, Kelly said. At about 10:30 p.m., Bier attempted to stop a man on a bicycle, and the man fled.

    Bier chased the man down a narrow alley and the man fired four shots at the sergeant, hitting him in both legs, said Kelly. Bier shot back six times.

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    Bier was rushed to Jamaica Hospital, where he was "alert and remarkably in good spirits," said Kelly.

    Police recovered a Luger 9mm pistol near the scene of the shooting. A man who later turned up at New York Hospital Queens with a graze wound to his face was questioned and then released.

    Bier is a 15-year veteran of the NYPD. 

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    (Published Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012)

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