20-year-old suspect accused of shooting Suffolk County officer pleads not guilty

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Friday, May 19, 2023
20-year-old suspect accused of shooting LI officer pleads not guilty
Jennel Funderburke, a 20-year-old man accused of shooting a Suffolk County police officer in Coram, pleaded not guilty.

CORAM, Suffolk County (WABC) -- A man accused of shooting a Suffolk County police officer pleaded not guilty on Friday afternoon and was held without bail.

Janell Funderburke was charged with attempted aggravated murder of a police officer, robbery in the 1st degree, and second degree menacing with a weapon in a courtroom with close to 100 members of law enforcement.

In court Friday, prosecutors say Funderburke confessed to his crimes, telling investigators he heard Suffolk County police Officer Michael LaFauci identify himself as a cop.

Detectives say they were monitoring the 20-year-old at a home in Coram on Thursday when he suddenly took off running.

Funderburke was a suspect in a robbery two days prior. They chased him and that's when police say Funderburke opened fire.

A police officer was hit in the thigh and his fellow officers applied two tourniquets, which Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison said doctors credited with saving his life.

Funderburke apologized to the officer he is suspected of shooting during a perp walk on Friday.

"Tell him I'm sorry, I didn't mean it," he said.

The suspect's uncle insisted that Funderburke was not on the run and there was no pursuit.

"He went home and started crying and called his mommy," his uncle said. "He made a mistake, he was on drugs. He's got psych problems, serious ones, it's documented."

Meanwhile, the Police Benevolent Association was incensed by Funderburke's release after prior offenses, like three and half years ago, in which Suffolk cops actually rescued him and three others from a burning car - only to discover, Funderburke's illegal drugs and weapon.

"They save his life, only in return for his attempt to kill one, this is what our leaders in Albany have created," said Noel DiGerolamo with the Suffolk County PBA.

Officer LaFauci Underwent emergency surgery and his condition has now been upgraded from serious to fair.

The PBA says he's still undergoing testing and he could remain hospitalized for the next week.

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