NYPD officer free on bail in Pelham shooting

NJ Burkett reports on an NYPD officer suspected of drunk driving who has been arrested after shooting and injuring a motorist. (WABC)
May 1, 2014 4:22:17 PM PDT
An NYPD officer has made bail and appeared in court Thursday evening on an assault charge after a suburban New York man was shot six times while he sat in a car stopped at a traffic light.

Prosecutors arraigned Brendan Cronin Wednesday night and his bail was set at $150,000. On Thursday, Cronin, of Yonkers, was asked to surrender his license as a condition of bail. His license was suspended and the case was adjourned until June 5.

There were no additional charges. Cronin's parents attended the proceedings.

A New York City Police Department official said Cronin finished work at 6 p.m. Tuesday. For an unknown reason, Cronin pulled over on the side of the road in Pelham. Police said the five-year veteran then fired his Glock 9 millimeter service weapon randomly.

The victim, a 47-year-old New Rochelle man, was a passenger in the vehicle. He was struck six times, and investigators said the victim was driven in the battered car to the emergency room at Montefiore in New Rochelle, N.Y., where he staggered inside.

A criminal complaint says Cronin shot 47-year-old Joseph Felice was hit him twice in the chest. It says Felice was also hit in the thumb and his right arm, which will require surgery.

The car was riddled with bullet holes from bullets that appeared to enter from the passenger side and exit through the windshield.

Investigators tracked the shooting scene to Lincoln Avenue where one neighbor told a reporter that she heard up to six gunshots in the street. Police recovered 13 shell casings.

Pelham Police Chief Joseph Benefico called the incident "dangerous and bizarre," and "completely random."

The 27-year-old officer didn't enter a plea, but defense attorney Pierre Sussman said Thursday he'll plead not guilty.

NYPD officials said there is no apparent reason for the shooting, and that there was no dispute between the officer and the victim before the shooting.

Cronin's 9mm Glock service weapon was recovered at the scene.

Sources familiar with the investigation told Eyewitness News that the officer had been ejected from a bar for fighting at nearby City Island where he allegedly was drinking in the hours before the shooting.

Last week, one NYPD detective allegedly shot his partner in the hand after hours of heavy drinking while on duty. Two others recently were arrested for drunk driving while off duty.