An off-duty NYPD Officer was arrested early Wednesday morning on a first-degree assault charge after allegedly drunkenly firing shots which left a man hospitalized.
The NY Post reports that 27 year-old Brendan Cronin, a six-year veteran of the 42nd Precinct in the Bronx, pulled up to a traffic light outside of Pelham, Westchester and fired at least 13 shots out of his window – six of which hit Joseph Felice, 47, a passenger in the SUV beside Cronin.
Felice told the police he heard “popping noises” around 11:55 p.m. Tuesday night. After being shot once, Felice slumped down in his seat only to be shot five more times. He told the driver he had been shot and the two immediately left for Montefiore Medical Center in The Bronx where he underwent surgery. Felice sustained injuries to the arms, torso, and lungs but was in stable condition as of Wednesday.
Cronin sped from the scene, assumedly to his Yonkers home, but was chased down by Pelham Police Officer Ryan Carden, who had been tipped off that Cronin was driving with his hazard lights on.
Cronin refused to comply for nearly a half-mile, allegedly driving waving his Glock out the window. Carden reports getting out of his car and ordering Cronin to throw his gun down several times before Cronin complied and was taken into custody.
Cronin was treated to an unusual private arraignment Wednesday and is scheduled to appear in court Thursday evening.
While the cause of the shooting is still under investigation, officers reported Cronin refused to take a breathalyzer test at the scene and that Cronin had been drinking with fellow police officers earlier in the day.
Evidence suggests the victim was completely random.
“We have not been able to find any link between the two persons,” said Pelham Police Chief Joseph Benefico. “We have nothing to link either party to each other — no road rage, nothing.”
Cronin is just one of half a dozen NYPD Officers who have been arrested for drunken disturbances in the last two weeks. Three officers were arrested within a 27-hour time frame between April 19 and 20 on various counts of DWI and reckless driving. Sergeant Wanda Anthony was arrested for drunkenly shooting a woman’s car early Wednesday morning after a date, and Detective Jay Poggi was arrested last Thursday for allegedly shooting his partner in the wrist after they had both been drinking at a restaurant for hours.
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton responded to the number of police who’ve seen the other side of the law in a press conference Wednesday.
"I personally am very disturbed about the number of incidents in recent weeks that are part of a longer-term problem of inappropriate use of alcohol by members of the department," Bratton said.