Fresh from a day of training at the shooting range and a night of drinking with his cop buddies, New York City police officer Brendan Cronin was driving home when he came to a stop at a traffic light shortly after midnight on April 28 last year.
The six-year veteran then stepped out of his car, walked up to a car in another lane and opened fire, shooting at least 14 times, striking a man inside six times, leaving him with permanent injuries.
Cronin, who was found by Pelham police a half mile away, told officers he was “on the job.” He was arrested anyway.
He then later claimed he was too drunk to remember anything he did that night.
But he did remember the importance of refusing a breathalyzer test – a common tactic used by cops who get arrested while intoxicated – because they know better than to voluntarily provide evidence against themselves.
Cronin spent a few hours in jail before he was bailed out. And he spent a year and five months on paid administrative leave.
On Tuesday, the 28-year-old pleaded guilty to attempted murder, assault and drunk .
He will be sentenced to nine years in prison, less than half of the maximum sentence, which was 25 years.
Cronin admitted his guilt without explanation in Westchester County court in White Plains. Like a groom at his wedding over and over, Cronin said, “I do,” as he answered questions about whether he agreed to plead guilty.
He admitted to the charges in the entire indictment that charged him with two counts of attempted murder, two counts of assault and driving while intoxicated in the April 2014 incident.
“You freely and voluntarily admit that you committed those offenses, and you shot into that the vehicle multiple times?” Westchester County Assistant District Attorney Tim Ward asked.
“I do,” Cronin replied.
Cronin’s tight-lipped plea followed months of negotiations.
Now that he has been convicted, the NYPD is expected to fire him.
And yes, there is video of the incident captured by a nearby surveillance camera, but that has yet to be released.
And there is also a pending lawsuit filed by the victim, Joe Felice, along with his friend, Robert Borrelli, who was in the car with him that night, but was not shot.
Surveillance video also showed Cronin approaching Borrelli’s stopped car, assuming “a shooter’s stance and [firing] his gun repeatedly,” the notice of claim said.
“Felice realized that he had been shot, began yelling and slumped over to his left. Approximately 13-14 shots were fired into the car in rapid succession before the shooting stopped,” the notice said.
Cronin allegedly threw his hazard lights on and fled the scene, but was nabbed by a Pelham cop a few blocks away.
Felice is still recovering from the shooting and still has a bullet lodged in his body. He is asking for $90 million in his lawsuit.