A man suspected of opening fire on a New York City police van and a police station last month, wounding an officer and a lieutenant, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to attempted murder charges.
Robert Williams’ arraignment drew dozens of police officers and union leaders to a Bronx courthouse in solidarity with the victims of the attacks, both of whom were treated and released from hospitals.
Williams, 45, was arrested Feb. 9 after police say he ran out of bullets, laid down on the floor of the 41st precinct station house and threw his pistol aside. He’s been jailed at the city’s notorious Rikers Island complex ever since and is due back in court in May.
A telephone message seeking comment was left with Williams’ lawyer.
Williams is accused of shooting at officers in a police van on Feb. 8, striking one in the neck area, and in a police station the next morning, wounding a lieutenant in the right arm.
Police said Williams had a long criminal history, including a 2002 shooting and carjacking in which he fired a gun at police. He was paroled in 2017 after an attempted murder conviction.
After the arraignment, Police Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch said he was glad Williams will remain locked up considering recent reforms that eliminated pretrial detention in many cases, which the union railed against.
“Police officers and the public do not want evil walking our streets,” Lynch said.
Williams’ grandmother said he been upset since his own son died after being shot in the Bronx.
“He was depressed at times because his son got shot in the street,” Mary Williams, 80, told the New York Post. “That was his only child.”