Officials on Wednesday said they were trying to sort out the alleged actions of a former convict who was charged with killing a Long Island police officer and a Brooklyn resident before being apprehended.
Darrell Fuller, 33, was found in a car in Queens with a self-inflicted gunshot wound and was taken into custody on Tuesday. He is charged in the shooting deaths of Nassau County Emergency Services Unit officer Arthur Lopez, 29, and Raymond Facey, 52, of Brooklyn.
Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano called Lopez, an 8-year veteran on the force, “an exemplary officer, a real heroic officer.”
“His file is full of commendations,” Mangano said Wednesday morning on New York’s Fox 5 News. Mangano also condemned the criminal justice system and how it dealt with the suspect.
“One can only wonder how an animal like this was roaming the streets with his rap sheet. He had a conviction for attempted murder in 2004,” Mangano said. “After being released just five years later, he went back to a life of crime and was arrested in 2010 for selling crack cocaine on the streets of Nassau County.”
Police were still investigating Tuesday’s incident at the Cross Island Parkway in Bellerose Terrace, which began with a traffic stop. Lopez was on patrol around 11 a.m. when he and his partner spotted a damaged silver Honda that was “running on rims.” They pulled the car over after a brief chase, authorities said.
There was “a brief exchange of words” and then the driver got out of the vehicle and fired one round into Lopez’s chest, Nassau County Police Chief Steven Skrynecki told reporters at a news conference on Tuesday. Lopez was not wearing a bulletproof vest; Nassau policy leaves the choice of wearing the vest to the officer.
The second officer administered first aid to Lopez, officials said, and was later hospitalized for trauma.
After the shooting, the gunman got back into his Honda and drove off. He crossed paths with Facey and his vehicle, officials said, and shot Facey in the head, pulled him out of the car and stole it. Facey’s car was found abandoned later in Queens, the New York City borough next to Nassau County.
Facey’s death has been overshadowed by the killing of the police officer, Mangano acknowledged in the television interview. “I know it’s been overshadowed” by Lopez’s murder, the county executive said, but “we’re equally shocked and dismayed that such an act would take place in New York, on Long Island. It’s terrible.”
Police say that Fuller fled the scene in Facey’s car. As New York police were conducting a door-to-door search in Queens, there was a report of a shooting. Officers said they found Fuller in another vehicle with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Mangano visited the officer’s family after the shootings. “The shrieks of his mother will haunt me and all those who were present forever,” he said. “A mother doesn’t want to live when she loses a son.”