Friday October 26, 2012

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) -- A man was arrested on charges he assisted a suspect in the shooting deaths of a New York police officer and a carjacking victim, prosecutors said Thursday.

The announcement of the man’s arrest came the same day Darrell Fuller was ordered held without bail on murder and other charges in the deaths of Nassau County Police Officer Arthur Lopez and a New York City man gunned down during a carjacking.

The shootings took place shortly before noon Tuesday in Nassau County, just over the border from the New York City borough of Queens.

The second suspect was not accused in the killings, but possessed the murder weapon used in the killings, authorities said. Gerald Williams, 27, was held on two weapons possession counts by prosecutors in Queens. He was facing arraignment later Thursday; it was not immediately known if he had an attorney.

A Nassau County criminal complaint said Fuller used a 9 mm semiautomatic to kill his two victims; Queens prosecutors said one of the weapons Williams is accused of possessing was a 9 mm handgun.

About 50 police officers, most in uniform, stood in the courtroom and about 50 more filled the hallways during Darrell Fuller’s initial appearance on Long Island. He did not enter a plea on two counts of first- degree murder, robbery and weapons charges.

Fuller spoke inaudibly in response to the judge’s questions. He was represented at the arraignment by an attorney from Legal Aid, which does not comment on pending cases. The judge said Fuller would be represented by a court-appointed attorney at his next appearance, scheduled for Monday.

Police say Fuller was arrested hours after he fatally shot Lopez, who had suspected Fuller had been involved in a hit-and-run car accident.

The 33-year-old Queens man is suspected of fleeing that shooting and then killing Raymond Facey while carjacking his vehicle. Prosecutors said Thursday that Facey had been stopped on the side of the Cross Island Parkway speaking with his daughter on a cellphone when he was attacked.

Fuller served four years in prison after pleading guilty to attempted murder in 2005, authorities said. He was jailed again in 2010 after violating his parole on a drug arrest but was released in May 2011 because there was insufficient evidence to support a stiffer sentence, the Nassau district attorney said.

"This is a man who should rot in hell and never see the light of day again," said James Carver, president of the Nassau County police union.

Fuller had been transferred from a hospital to police headquarters on Wednesday.

He was hospitalized Tuesday after police say he suffered self-inflicted gunshot wounds. On Thursday, however, it was not clear whether Fuller had inflicted the wounds himself or whether someone else shot him. Prosecutors said he staged his own shooting to make it appear as if he were an innocent victim.

"He caused this to occur," Assistant District Attorney Mitchell Benson said when asked if the police portrayal of events was still accurate. He would not elaborate on who fired the shots that wounded Fuller.

Lopez was shot Tuesday in what had started out as a traffic stop near the Belmont Park horse track.

The 29-year-old Lopez was on patrol in Bellerose Terrace, a community at the border of Queens and Nassau County. He and his partner spotted a damaged silver Honda that was "running on rims" and suspected it was wanted for leaving the scene of a hit-and-run accident, authorities said.

The officers followed the car, and it pulled over. There was "a brief exchange of words" between Lopez and the driver before the driver left the vehicle and fired one round into Lopez’s chest, police Chief Steven Skrynecki said, adding that the officer wasn’t wearing a bulletproof vest. The police department on Wednesday issued an order requiring officers to wear vests at all times while on duty.

A funeral for Lopez is planned for Saturday on Long Island.