Columbia Street Cop Shooter Sentenced to 28 Years-Life

A 27-year old man was sentenced today to 28 years to life in prison for shooting a cop on the Lower East Side two years ago.  The incident happened on Columbia street, near the Baruch Houses, shortly after two officers approached Luis Martinez for suspected drug dealing.

The cop, Thomas Richards, was saved when the bullet struck his metal gun magazine.  In January, a Manhattan jury convicted Martinez of attempted murder and weapons possession charges.  During the trial and again today, defense attorney Matthew Myers said his client believed the officers were trying to rob them, and he didn’t think they were cops. According to the Daily News, he told the judge, Martinez has “not one single conviction and this court needs to respect the fact that my client had no record going into this case.”  The judge, however, was unmoved. State Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus said, “it began when Mr. Martinez took the gun that he purchased and put it on his person and left his home.”

In a statement, District Attorney Cy Vance said, “If not for the metal gun magazine and leather pouch that prevented the bullet from piercing Officer Thomas Richards’s abdomen, he might not be alive today. There is no clearer example of how New York’s Finest place their lives on the line every day to keep us safe. I thank the jury for their service and for seeing that justice was done in this case.”



Suspect in Lower East Side Shooting Spree Denied Bail

Columbia Street, near Delancey; Monday, February 27.

Here’s a follow-up on that overnight shootout near the Baruch Houses a week ago Sunday.  The suspect, Luis Martinez, was charged yesterday with two counts each of first degree attempted murder, attempted assault and 2nd degree criminal possession of a weapon.  He is being held without bail.

During a chase and shootout through the streets of the Lower East Side, police say Martinez fired at Housing Police officers Thomas Richards and Thomas Dunne. Bullet fragments were found in Richards’ magazine pouch; NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said it was a miracle Richards was not seriously hurt.  Police have called Martinez a suspected drug dealer.

Stephen Scott, a state appointed lawyer, appeared alongside Martinez in court yesterday. According to the Daily News he said his client would “have no comment to make in this case whatsoever.”

Martinez, a resident of the Baruch Houses, will be back in court a week from Thursday.