NEW YORK, NY– The man who attempted to kill two New York police officers within a twelve-hour period was indicted this week on multiple counts of attempted murder and attempted assault on a police officer.
Robert Williams, 45-years-old, walked up to and shot an NYPD officer on February 8 when the officer was sitting inside a parked and marked police van.
Police Officer Paul Stroffolino was hit in the neck and chin, but the bullets grazed rather than penetrated him.
Williams fled from the scene.
We are grateful for the ongoing recovery of Officer Paul Stroffolino and Lieutenant Jose Gautreaux @NYPD41Pct. Please support your local police officers. It matters more than you can imagine. pic.twitter.com/lS8gnLzUVR
— Chief Nilda Hofmann (@NYPDCommAffairs) February 10, 2020
Less than twelve hours later, Williams walked into the 41st Precinct stationhouse and again began shooting. This time, he struck Lt. Jose Gatreaux in the upper arm. Several other officers and civilians were present.
The Lt. fired back but missed, and Williams reportedly fired until he ran out of ammunition and surrendered when gunfire continued flying towards him.
— New York Post (@nypost) March 4, 2020
Williams dropped to the ground and tossed his gun towards police, who were able to place him under arrest.
Both shot officers suffered from non life-threatening injuries.
A Bronx grand jury indicted Williams on the charges and he was brought before Bronx Supreme Court Justice George Villegas this week for his arraignment.
According to the NY Post, Williams was charged with eleven counts of first-degree attempted murder, twelve counts of second-degree attempted murder, eleven counts of attempted aggravated assault upon a police officer or a peace officer, twelve counts of first-degree attempted assault, two counts of second-degree assault, and four counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.
Williams plead not guilty to the charges and his currently being held without bail.
NYPD shooting suspect Robert Williams pleads not guilty to attempted murder and several other charges. https://t.co/8d7LIHHVQa
— The Tornado News (@TheTornadoNews) March 4, 2020
The severity of the charges will hopefully see him actually put in prison, and keep him there.
Williams has expressed absolutely zero remorse in his actions. Further, he continued to threaten police officers after his surrender.
Following his arrest, Williams was taken to Lincoln Hospital for injuries sustained during his arrest.
From the hospital bed, he muttered to police standing guard:
“I’m going to shoot one of you when I get out.”
Williams’ relatives were in the courthouse with him during the arraignment. One member told reporters that he “went off the rails” when his son killed himself after accidentally shooting himself two years ago.
However, NYPD officials have said Williams is a “career criminal” who was convicted of attempted murder in 2002 after committing several crimes in the Bronx and shooting it out with police at that time.
NYPD Lt. Jose Gautreaux, wounded by a crazed gunman, was released from a Bronx hospital, giving a thumbs up to cheering cops
Gautreaux was shot in the 41st precinct, hours after the same gunman shot Officer Paul Stroffolino in the chin and neck: reporthttps://t.co/mPg1zK5ERK
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) February 10, 2020
Williams was in and out of jail since the age of fourteen. His most recent sentence saw him spend fifteen years in prison out of an eighteen-year sentence. At that time, he had shot a person, carjacked a woman in order to escape from the shooting, and then wrecked the stolen car.
He was released from prison in 2017 and was on parole at the time of these recent attacks on police officers.
His family still claims that Williams is so far gone now because he was hoping to get to know his dead son, BJ, when he was released from prison. He only had six months with BJ before he shot himself.
Williams reacted by turning back to heavy drug use. At his next encounter with police, Williams was placed under arrest by use of Taser.
During a taped interview with investigators following his attempted murders in February, Williams said he shot at the officers because he “was tired of police officers.”
The court room was full of police officers there in support of their fellow wounded officers. This included Police Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch.
Lynch had this to say of Williams’ family attempting to offer him an excuse for his actions:
“Many people, citizens, police officers alike, deal with tragedies in their lives. They don’t go out and try to assassinate police officers.
We say [Williams] should get treatment. He should get that treatment behind bars.’’
Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said the attack was an “abomination.”
“Fortunately, this mission to massacre police officers failed. I’ve never seen anything like this in my lifetime, or in this county in all the years I’ve been doing this work. Basically it was an attempt to assassinate police officers.”
Despite being shot in the chin & neck last night, Police Officer Stroffolino goes home today, giving his fellow officers — & everyone we serve — an inspirational thumbs-up.
We thank him for his heroic service to our city, and wish him a speedy recovery. pic.twitter.com/NW7FerMEqm
— Commissioner Shea (@NYPDShea) February 9, 2020
Clark praised the officers’ professionalism and restraint when taking Williams into custody, especially following his threats of continued attempted murders should he be released.
To this, Clark said:
“Even with those kinds of threats, the police personnel went back to work and continued to do their job at the 41st Precinct.”
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea released a statement, saying:
“This man allegedly attempted not once but twice to assassinate police officers. The first time uniformed officers helping to keep the Bronx streets safe, the second time officers inside their stationhouse.”
We condemn these actions and support in every way possible the prosecution by District Attorney Darcel Clark. We are confident her office will assure that justice is done.”
After the incidents, Commissioner Shea said:
“This is a premeditated assassination attempt.”
DA Clark also said:
“To enter a police stationhouse and fire a gun is unprecedented in our city and in our lifetime.”
According to the New York Times, Williams created a shrine of his 18-year old son after he killed himself. Williams’ grandmother said he was becoming depressed after his loss, turning to hallucinogenic drugs. She also said that Williams was likely high when he went after the police officers in February.
“I think he was letting drugs take over his life.”
His grandmother said that Williams had been holding a lot of anger towards law enforcement since the death of BJ. Police, mind you, had nothing to do with BJ’s death. BJ shot himself accidentally when a friend handed him a gun.
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Williams’ previous arrest, mentioned above, was when he drove his car into a median near the Cross-Bronx Expressway. Williams was clearly high during this incident, which is solidified by the fact that officers found a cigarette containing phencyclidine, or PCP, inside the car after Williams’ arrest.
Williams was unable to get his key into the ignition after hitting the median, so he got out of the car and jumped over the barrier. When officers attempted to place him in handcuffs, he attempted to break free of the officers and shouted, “Get off me!”
No matter how long this takes we will continue to show up to support our officers and make sure the criminal justice system works the way it is supposed to. pic.twitter.com/F3n7ZuYBJ1
— NYC PBA (@NYCPBA) March 4, 2020
He was tased at this time in order for officers to gain control of him safely. Williams was charged with possession of a controlled substance, resisting arrest and driving under the influence.
While prosecutors asked for Williams to be held without bond, but a judge released him without bail.
Four days before attempting to kill at least two police officers, Williams was contacted by police for medical reasons. He was sick outside of a gas station, and told police he had high blood pressure. Police were able to get him an ambulance and get him to the hospital.
? Recognize him? Help us identify the male depicted in these photos. @NYPDDetectives want to talk to him about the shooting of a NYPD Police Officer on Simpson Street in the Bronx.
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) February 9, 2020
They got him nice and healthy so he could try and kill them the following weekend.
Arvie Nelson, Williams’ mother, blames the criminal justice system for all the family troubles. She said the system didn’t prepare him for life outside of a prison cell from spending so many years behind bars.
She also condemned the police for “beating” Williams during his arrest. You know, the arrest after he shot a gun at multiple cops and civilian bystanders?
“[I’m] sorry about what happened to the cops. But two wrongs don’t make a right.”
Well, Arvie. I see where your son gets his charm from.
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