New York Daily News

June 5, 2010



 

Shu'aib Raheem, who killed NYPD cop in 1973 botched robbery, to be released from prison

   
 
Lombard/News
 
PBA President Patrick Lynch taking a closer look of the crime scene pictures taken by El Diario/La Prensa photographer 35 years ago.

By Rocco Parascandola and Samuel Goldsmith
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS

The widow of a city cop shot to death more than 30 years ago had just one question Friday after the killer was granted parole: "What the hell were they thinking?"

Stephen Gilroy, 29, was shot in the head during a robbery in Brooklyn in 1973 after Shu'aib Raheem and three other men stormed a sporting-goods store. Raheem, then 23, was trying to steal guns at John and Al's Sporting Goods in Williamsburg.

Several hostages were wounded in the 47-hour standoff. Authorities never figured out who fired the fatal shot, but Raheem was convicted and sentenced to 25 years to life. The convict will walk out of the Eastern Correctional Facility in Napanoch by July 8, officials said.

   
 
Russo/News
  Shuaib Abdur Raheem, 23, alias Earl Robinson, is booked at the 90th Precinct in Brooklyn in 1973.
 
 
Lombard/News
  Crime scene pictures taken by a El Diario/La Prensa photographer 35 years ago.Cop killer Shuaib Raheem, who killed NYC PO Stephen Gilroy, in a 47-hour long hostage in 1973, was denied parole. PBA President Patrick Lynch and former Police Officers held a press conference outside of the Parole Office on West 31st. Street in Manhattan.

"My family and Steve's family and the families of the hostages and all the police officers involved are left to wonder what exactly justice is," the officer's widow, Patricia Gilroy, said. "It sure isn't this."

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly was quick to condemn the parole board for setting the cop killer free.

"Parole should never be an option for Shu'aib Raheem or anyone who murders a police officer," Kelly said. "Paroling [Gilroy's] killer is an affront to his memory and undermines society at large."

The parole board voted 2 to 1 Friday to free Raheem. Board members Thomas Grant and Deborah Loomis voted for release, while Henry Lemon voted against it, officials said.

Raheem, 60, was granted parole in 2007, but the vote was overturned when Loomis changed her mind amid protests from top NYPD officials, officers who survived the robbery and Gilroy's family.

Parole officials in Albany said they did not immediately know why the board again voted to free Raheem because they have not seen the transcript of the hearing.

"Every New York City police officer is outraged," said Pat Lynch, head of the Policeman's Benevolent Association.

"He killed a New York City police officer in cold blood," Lynch said. "He should remain in prison for the rest of his life. He should never see the light of day."

Lynch said Raheem is "unrepentant" and "an animal," and he has failed to be rehabilitate d in prison.

"Some evil cannot be changed," Lynch said. "This evil cannot be changed."

In a 2008 court appearance, Raheem said he regretted his role in the deadly hostage siege.

"I wish there was some way I could go back to the moment I decided to enter the store," he said in front of a packed courthouse. "I'm not an animal. Believe me, I regret that day and will regret it the rest of my life. I understand the pain I caused."

"It was unjustifiable," he told the parole board in 1997. "I am ashamed of it. I brought a lot of shame and hurt to people, in particular to the officer's family. I feel their loss and have been feeling their loss for years. I am very sorry. That's all I can say."

rparascandola@nydailynews.com