NEW YORK—Within a span of 12 hours, two New York City Police Department officers were shot in two separate assassination attempts over the weekend, officials said.
The suspect, Robert Williams, has been charged with attempted murder, criminal weapon possession, and resisting arrest. Borough presidents and other city officials gathered outside of police headquarters on Monday to condemn the attacks.
“The assassination failed, but there was an assassination on the symbol of public safety,” said Borough President Eric Adams (D-Brooklyn). “And that is something we cannot tolerate, that is why we’re here.”
Williams allegedly entered a police station in the Bronx and fired his pistol at officers until it was empty. Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said at a press conference that Williams “immediately laid down, but only after he ran out of bullets.”
One lieutenant was hit in the arm but is expected to make a full recovery, Shea said.
For the second time in 12 hours, a
NYPD cop has been targeted & shot.
This morning, a man walked into the 41 Precinct & began shooting at uniformed officers. One male lieutenant was struck in the arm, and
taken to the hospital &, thankfully, is expected to make a full recovery. https://t.co/R9Hi1en02t
— Commissioner Shea (@NYPDShea) February 9, 2020
Hours before that, police say a man, suspected to be Williams, walked up to a police car, asked an officer for directions, and without warning, shot at them. One of the officers was shot in the chin and neck, but is also expected to recover.
Adams said these will have reverberations.
“Anytime a person walks to a police vehicle, they will remember that encounter,” he said.
Shea said the attacks brought him back to 2014, when two NYPD officers were killed shortly after anti-police protests took place in the city.
“We had people marching in New York City last week—and I condemned it and I condemn it right here again today—using profanities, against the police department,” he added.
New York’s police unions, however, are blaming officials who’ve used anti-police rhetoric for the crimes.
The Sergeants Benevolence Association (SBA) said in a statement that the NYPD is “declaring war” on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio after Blasio condemned the attacks on Twitter.
“Mayor DeBlasio, the members of the NYPD are declaring war on you! We do not respect you, DO NOT visit us in hospitals. You sold the NYPD to the vile creatures, the 1% who hate cops but vote for you. NYPD cops have been assassinated because of you. This isn’t over, Game on!,” the union said in a statement on Twitter.
Mayor DeBlasio, the members of the NYPD are declaring war on you! We do not respect you, DO NOT visit us in hospitals. You sold the NYPD to the vile creatures, the 1% who hate cops but vote for you. NYPD cops have been assassinated because of you. This isn’t over, Game on! https://t.co/XyruPraM9T
— SBA (@SBANYPD) February 9, 2020
SBA didn’t elaborate what it meant by “war.”
Councilman Andy King (D-Bronx) told NTD News that he doesn’t think rhetoric is to blame. He said the cases appeared to be isolated and personal.
New Yorkers, feel good about your force. Men and women in blue, continue to be safe, feel safe,” he said. “And more importantly, I ask everyone to be more human to one another, and as we’re more human with each other, and the issues we deal with each and every—kind of vanish.”
Williams had been upset ever since his son died after being shot in the Bronx, the suspect’s grandmother told the New York Post. The police department told the Post that a Robert Williams Jr. was killed when he accidentally shot himself with a firearm.
The department could not immediately confirm that this was the suspect’s son.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.