The Bronx man who tried to kill two NYPD officers in a weekend-long shooting rampage was sentenced to 23 years to life in prison Friday — as the partner of one of the victims ripped the would-be assassin as a “coward.”
Robert Williams, 47 — who accepted a plea deal last month copping to the two counts of first-degree attempted murder of a police officer — showed no remorse before Bronx Supreme Court Justice Ralph Fabrizio handed down the punishment.
“I’m not a coward,” he whined. “I wasn’t trying to kill nobody. They violated me and swept it under the rug.”
The outburst didn’t do Williams any favors in the eyes of Fabrizio.
“Well if there were any doubt of it, of what Mr. Williams’ intent was, his motive was and his aim was that day … his words just sealed the deal,” the judge said.
At the tense hearing, Sgt. Brian Hanlon, the partner of one of the cop’s shot by Williams in February 2020, tore into the gunman during his victim impact statement.
“As I’m standing here in front of you today I want you to know that brings me joy knowing your life is essentially over. You’ll spend the next 20 years in prison. I hope you wake up miserable every single day,” Hanlon told the court.
“We all took this job knowing the risk that comes with the territory. You don’t necessarily think about it. We all hope and pray the unspoken ‘it’ doesn’t happen but ‘it’ did happen,” Hanlon said.
“The one thing we fear the most and what families especially feel the most— a coward walking up to the car and opening fire. Someone who I’ve never met once in my life someone who knows nothing about me.”
Hanlon recounted the horror he and his partner, Officer Paul Stroffolino, experienced when Williams sauntered up to their patrol car under the guise of seeking directions.
He then unleashed his unprovoked attack and fired bullets into the car, striking Stroffolino in the neck and chin.
I still carry the vivid image of my partner holding his neck and blood all over the front of his uniform,” Hanlon solemnly said. “It is a traumatizing experience to see your best friend shot in the face and neck and not know how severe the injuries were.”
Stroffolino miraculously escaped grave injuries after Hanlon and other officers rushed him to the hospital.
He did not speak in court, but somberly looked on with his wife at his side.
After shooting Stroffolino, Williams escaped and continued his rampage 12 hours later when he walked into the 41st Precinct station house and opened fire, wounding Lt. Jose Gautreaux before being taken into custody.
“After just a few hours of broken sleep, I woke to the news of the coward going to the 41st Precinct to open fire, hitting the lieutenant in the arm and trying to kill any officer he could. Thankfully, he did not succeed with doing so,” Hanlon said.
“I will never be one of those people who forgives their attacker … I hope you suffer every single day that you are locked up,” said Hanlon.
Williams’ record includes a 2002 attempted murder conviction — a case that saw him trade bullets with cops — for which he was paroled in 2017.
He was re-arrested for resisting arrest and DUI in 2018 after a cop allegedly found him sleeping in a car near the Major Deegan Expressway.
He was briefly locked up on a parole violation, but sprung again in January 2019, just one year before he fired at Hanlon and Stroffolino.
“We believe that this violent criminal should be behind bars for the rest of his life. No doubt about it,” PBA President Patrick Hendry said at a press conference after the sentencing.
“This criminal was on parole, which he shouldn’t have been on parole. He should have been behind bars and he needs to stay behind bars where they will last for the rest of his life.”