April 19, 2016 2:09pm
By Ben Fractenberg
|Police Officer Joseph Koch was shot in the hand June 17, 2013 while off-duty and attempting to break up a domestic violence attack.|
QUEENS — A man who shot an off-duty NYPD officer who happened upon a domestic assault was found guilty of attempted murder, a spokesman for the Queen's District Attorney said.
Jose Bernazard, 42 — who faces up to 50 years in prison when he's sentenced May 3 — had broken an order of protection and was assaulting his ex-girlfriend and her 10-year-old son in their Jamaica home June 16, 2013 when Officer Joseph Koch tried to intervene.
Koch happened upon the fight after leaving a family party nearby. He was shot with his own gun.
“Although the police officer was off-duty at the time and attending a Father’s Day BBQ nearby, he adhered to his oath to serve and protect the public by immediately going to the woman’s aid,” said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
“During a brief struggle, however, the defendant grabbed the officer’s gun and fired a round, which struck the officer and shattered the bones in his hand.
"Although the young officer was fortunately able to regain control of the situation and effect an arrest, his wound was severe enough to force him to give up what had been his life-long dream of being a police officer.”
Koch, who had his police shield clipped to his waistband, was on South Rd. at about 10 p.m. when the woman's son came running out of the home screaming, “Help me! Help me!”
The officer ran into the building with his gun drawn and found Bernazard and the two began to struggle.
Bernazard grabbed Koch’s gun and fired three times, hitting Bernazard in the stomach, neck and hand.
Bernazard, who lives in Ozone Park, had stalked his ex for 18 months and assaulted her three times before, including breaking into her home in 2012 and choking and punching her while she was sleeping.
The Ozone Park man was found guilty Monday after a three week trial. He was convicted of attempted murder, assault, burglary, aggravated criminal contempt, criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation, criminal trespass, criminal mischief and stalking.
His lawyer and the NYPD did not return requests for comment.
Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch called Koch a "selfless and heroic" police officer.
"That Father’s Day in 2013 when he heard the screams of a woman being beaten, he responded without giving a thought to his own well being. That was the day he saved a woman’s life, took a dangerous man off the streets of our city and sustained a serious injury that ended his career as a police officer," Lynch said in a statement.
"We are pleased that Jose Bernazard, who police officer Koch arrested that day, has been convicted and we hope that he will be given the maximum sentence for his crimes.”