This story has been updated.
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Brendan Cronin, the New York City Police Department officer and Yonkers resident accused of shooting two people - including a New Rochelle man in Pelham - pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and assault charges Thursday morning in Westchester County Court in White Plains.
Cronin was released on a $250,000 bond. He is due back for a conference July 24 in which he will be required to appear. An order of protection was issued against Cronin on behalf of the two victims.
Both the defendant and his lawyer refused to comment as they left the courthouse Thursday.
New Rochelle resident Joseph Felice, who was shot six times - including shots to the torso, arm, hand and chest area - is recovering with his family. But, his lawyer Randolph McLaughlin, said Thursday he will likely have another surgery to repair his wounds.
"It’s a long road to recovery," McLaughlin said. "The physical wounds will probably heal before the mental ones will."
The other man in the car, Robert Borrelli, was unharmed. He attended the arraignment Thursday.
“I thought it was important that he see a face because the only thing he’s ever seen of me is the back of my head,” he said.
“I have the question that everybody has which is why? That’s the question that will continue to roll in my head. And every time I looked at him that’s what kept spinning, ‘Why? Why? Why?”
Cronin allegedly approached Borrelli and Felice’s vehicle in Pelham April 29 and opened fire with his service weapon, shooting through the back passenger window toward the victims, police said. He was off duty at the time and had been in in-service training at the New York Police Department’s Firearms and Tactics Section in the Bronx.
Police allege Cronin, who they said fled the scene, was operating his vehicle while intoxicated.
McLaughlin said Thursday he has seen the surveillance footage. He said it shows that Cronin sat in his car for up to an hour before the incident, then walked onto a front yard.
"You see on the video, clear as day, Cronin walking deliberately and purposefully from the yard to his car. He turns his back to the Borrelli car, bends down to his car in the rear driver-side door and gets something in the car. We believe he’s getting his gun; takes the gun comes out from the rear of Borrelli’s car and just starts shooting. There’s was absolutely no contact, no conversation, no communication, no interaction with these two men before he allegedly shot them. Non at all, completely inexplicable."
McLaughlin added that three-to-four bullets went through Felice’s headrest.
"Had he been sitting up he’d of been killed," he said. "He almost bled out in the hospital."
The defendant has been indicted on two counts of attempted murder, two counts of first-degree assault and one count of driving while intoxicated.
McLaughlin said he hopes Cronin, if convicted, is punished to the fullest extent of the law.
“We think that’s the only just result in the event of a conviction that he is treated like any other defendant,” he said. “No favor. No special treatment. That at the end of the day he may be a police officer, but right now he’s a criminal defendant.”
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