New York Daily News

December 16, 2005

Mom aims at cop killers

Danny's ma makes plea as gov mulls special session for tougher laws

BY JOE MAHONEY in Albany and ALISON GENDAR in New York

THE MOTHER of a slain cop begged lawmakers yesterday to take aim at thugs who kill cops - even as sources said Gov. Pataki was set to call a special pre-Christmas session aimed at toughening laws to protect police.

"I don't want to hear another mother cry when a person is killed by a gun," a tearful Maria Rosa Enchautegui said outside Bronx's 49th Precinct stationhouse, near Jacobi Medical Center, where her son Officer Daniel Enchautegui died Saturday after being shot.

The 28-year-old hero's father, Pedro Enchautegui, could barely speak. He handed his right crutch to one of the officers protectively surrounding the couple, then balanced on one crutch, covered his face with his right hand and sobbed.

Their grief - and the Daily News' Stop Crimes Against Cops Campaign - was helping finally get some action in Albany on gun reform and a series of measures to protect police.

Sources close to Pataki said he was prepared to take the extraordinary step of calling the state Legislature back into session next week.

One of the proposals submitted by state Sen. Marty Golden (R-Brooklyn) calls for the death penalty for cop killers - a measure that still could be resisted by the Assembly, which has balked at other bids to reinstitute New York's capital punishment law.

Police union leader Patrick Lynch praised Daniel Enchautegui's heartbroken parents for speaking out just a day after burying their son.

"To have the parents, these two wonderful people, to have the courage the day after sending their son to heaven, to have the courage to stand here with their new family, New York City police officers, is more than anyone can imagine," said Lynch, head of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association.

The recent slayings of Enchautegui and Office Dillon Stewart unleashed a public cry for Albany to stiffen gun laws - and the penalties for anyone who kills or hurts a cop.

"Every skell on the street must know if you raise a finger to a police officer then and there you are determining your fate," Lynch said.

A breakthrough came yesterday when Assembly Democrats caved in to GOP demands and embraced the idea of mandatory prison time for those caught trafficking in multiple illegal weapons. Earlier, Democratic bills allowed thugs caught peddling guns to get off with probation.

"We just buried another New York City police officer this week. When do we stop playing politics and start protecting the people of New York?" said New York State Fraternal Order of Police President Frank Ferreyra.

Famed gun control advocate James Brady also called on lawmakers to move quickly on a law.

"The only thing keeping New York from reaching a deal on this is politics," said Brady, the former White House press secretary who was wounded in the 1981 assassination attempt on former President Ronald Reagan.

Twenty-one City Council members sent off a strongly worded letter to Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to act.

"We are writing today to urge you to act immediately to increase the penalties for violent crimes against members of our police force," the Council members urged.