RIVERHEAD, Long Island (WABC) -- Hundreds of police officers showed up at court Wednesday for the arraignment of a man who allegedly stabbed and nearly killed a Suffolk County cop.
The court appearance came just days after Officer Christopher Racioppo was released from the hospital to a chorus of cheers from his brothers and sisters in blue.
"I'm happy to go home," he said on Monday. "A lot of doctors and nurses to thank."
Authorities say Racioppo was stabbed in the leg by 25-year-old Jonathan Nunez, who had fled a traffic stop while high on meth and led the officer on a foot chase.
Doctors say Racioppo severed a major artery and lost most of his blood. He was just minutes away from death if not for the actions of fellow officers and good Samaritans who jumped in to help.
"This defendant was allegedly high on drugs and driving erratically, and instead of pulling over and complying with lawful commands, he decided to speed through a residential area and ultimately attacked a police officer," District Attorney Tim Sini said. "These are all conscious decisions that the defendant made, decisions that put so many peoples' lives at risk, including Officer Racioppo, who is lucky to be alive thanks to the swift actions of the responding officers, good Samaritans, and the medical professionals at both Long Island Community Hospital and Stony Brook University Hospital. I'll say this clearly and unequivocally: We will do whatever it takes to hold this defendant accountable for his horrific actions."
Nunez is charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, first-degree assault, assault on a police officer, two counts of second-degree assault, third-degree assault, resisting arrest, leaving the scene of an incident resulting in physical injury, reckless driving, and operating a motor vehicle while impaired by a drug.
"Officer Racioppo is thankfully home today, but he has suffered a grave injury that will take a lot of time to come back from," Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said. "It was a lesson in courage that we saw when Officer Racioppo was viciously attacked and officers came to his rescue without question. I want to thank the District Attorney and his team on behalf of the men and women of the Suffolk County Police Department for holding this defendant accountable and bringing him to justice."
Nunez was remanded without bail, and if convicted of the top count, he faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.
"Jonathan Nunez is a criminal and an attempted cop-killer, whose actions nearly ended Officer Christopher Racioppo's life, causing immeasurable harm to him and his family," Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association President Noel DiGerolamo said. "Nunez deserves to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. We have faith justice will be served when the court reaches a verdict and takes the necessary action ensuring Nunez is held accountable for his actions."
Racciopo, 31, is a three-year veteran of the force. His pregnant fiancée is an ICU nurse at Stony Brook University Hospital, where he was treated.
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