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Updated: March 6, 2020

Man Who Shot At Cops Faces Attempted-Murder Charges

PBA, LBA Heads Condemn ‘Evil’

By Richard Khavkine

The man who last month shot at police officers on two occasions, one from inside the 41st Precinct stationhouse in the Bronx, was indicted March 3 on multiple counts of attempted murder, assault and other charges.

Robert Williams, 45, faces 11 counts of first-degree attempted murder, 12 counts of attempted murder in the second degree and related charges.

‘Mission to Kill Failed’

Mr. Williams began his shooting spree on the night of Feb. 8, when he shot at two cops sitting in a parked NYPD van on Simpson St. in the Longwood neighborhood, wounding one. He resumed it the next morning when he walked into the Longwood Ave. stationhouse and fired at several officers and a precinct worker before running out of bullets and trying to escape. Several officers subdued Mr. Williams.

“This mission to kill officers failed,” District Attorney Darcel D. Clark said after issuing the indictment.

Officer Paul Stroffolino, who was in the police van, was shot in the neck and chin. He was taken to Lincoln Hospital, where he was treated and released the following day. Lieut. Jose Gatreaux was hit in his right arm in the stationhouse shooting. He also was taken to Lincoln Hospital and released the day following that incident.

Mr. Williams, of the borough’s Soundview neighborhood, pleaded not guilty during a March 4 appearance in Bronx Supreme Court. He is being held without bail.

The president of the Lieutenants Benevolent Association, Lou Turco, who attended the hearing, said he was thankful Mr. Williams was remanded back to jail.

“We think he’s pure evil and a coward, and he doesn’t belong on the streets of this city,” he said by phone following the hearing before Supreme Court Justice George Villegas.

Mr. Turco said Lieutenant Gatreaux is recuperating well, although not yet back to work.

A Note of Caution

The president of the Police Benevolent Association, Patrick J. Lynch, also thanked the judge and the DA’s Office for taking the indictment “so seriously, knowing that police officers and the public do not want evil walking our streets.”

But Mr. Lynch also sounded a note of caution, saying that climbing crime numbers citywide call for a return to “proactive policing.”

“We need to go back to what we know works. Do our job, get support for doing it and save lives,” he said.

In addition to the murder charges, Mr. Williams faces 11 counts of attempted aggravated assault on a police officer, 12 counts of first-degree attempted assault, two counts of second-degree assault and four counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.