New York Daily News

October 26, 2007

You'll go to hell, shot cop rages at thug in court

BY JOHN MARZULLI
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

Burn in hell!

    Police officer Andrew Suarez at Brooklyn Supreme Court Thursday for sentencing of Jose Rivera, cop's husband who shot Suarez last February.
  Police officer Andrew Suarez at Brooklyn Supreme Court Thursday for sentencing of Jose Rivera, cop's husband who shot Suarez last February.
  Jose Rivera
  Jose Rivera

That was NYPD Officer Andrew Suarez's message Thursday to the thug convicted of shooting the plainclothes cop earlier this year in Brooklyn.

His voice shaking with anger in a courtroom packed with cops, Suarez faced assailant Jose Rivera, 32, and made it clear he wasn't letting the ex-con's cop wife off the hook for helping him ditch his bullet-riddled SUV.

"Your true judgment day will come when your life expires from this Earth and you will be judged by God, and when he asks you to explain what you've done, you will be sent straight to hell," Suarez said.

"And you won't be alone - you'll be accompanied by your wife, who helped you commit this heinous crime," he added.

He was referring to disgraced cop Jacqueline Melendez-Rivera, a 13-year veteran who is charged with tampering with evidence and official misconduct for her role after the Feb. 11 shooting.

Suarez had reluctantly agreed to a plea deal that would allow Rivera to get 16 years in prison for attempted murder instead of the 25 years to life he faced when charged with attempted murder of a police officer.

"My thirst for justice has not been quenched, because unfortunately, you'll be on the streets again," Suarez said.

Although the Brooklyn district attorney stated in a press release issued after yesterday's sentencing that Suarez displayed his badge before he was wounded, Supreme Court Justice Guy Mangano said he was confident that the defendant did not know he was shooting a police officer.

Rivera pulled alongside Suarez's unmarked vehicle, and they exchanged hard stares before Rivera opened fire.

Then Rivera returned to his Park Slope brownstone and asked his pregnant wife to help him get rid of the SUV.

The judge said he would restrain himself from commenting on Melendez-Rivera's actions because her case is still pending.

"I can understand the officer's position about how they want that case prosecuted," Mangano said.

Outside court, Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch got straight to the point about how cops view Melendez-Rivera.

"She made a decision to cross a line and will forever go down in the annals of the NYPD as a criminal and a mope," Lynch said.

Melendez-Rivera's lawyer Jay Schwitzman said she is struggling to raise four young children on her own.

Asked if she had dumped her husband, Schwitman replied: "She wasn't at his sentencing, was she?"

jmarzulli@nydailynews.com