A suspect, who allegedly shot NYPD officer Randolph Holder in the head after a chase Tuesday, has a lengthy arrest record, authorities said, according to the Associated Press (AP). The suspect, identified as Tyrone Howard, who was arraigned late Wednesday in Manhattan criminal court, was charged with murder and robbery, and was ordered to be held without bail.
The case against Howard, who allgedly stole a bike before being chased by officer Holder, will be presented to a grand jury on Friday and Monday, Assistant District Attorney Linda Ford said, according to AP.
Howard has been arrested 28 times since he was 13, including once in a 2009 shooting that injured a 1-year-old and a 78-year-old. He reportedly has four felony drug convictions and has done stints in state prison. He got out of jail and enrolled in a drug program just months before Tuesday's shooting.
"It's unfortunate that there are people in our city, in our society, that, despite our best efforts ... they're criminals," Police Commissioner William Bratton said Wednesday, according to AP, adding: "And this individual, I think, is one of those."
Bratton also said that Howard, who has two children, was a dangerous criminal and a "poster boy for not being diverted" to a treatment-oriented drug court instead of prison. Mayor Bill de Blasio reportedly said that Howard should have been locked up as "someone like this shouldn't have been on the streets."
Howard, along with 18 others, was arrested last October for selling crack cocaine and was charged with selling to an undercover officer at a public housing complex. The office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. had recommended a jail term of seven years for the charge. However, state Supreme Court Justice Edward McLaughlin referred him to a diversion program, saying he had no reason to believe that he was violent. McLaughlin had also reportedly claimed that he did not see a record indicating an arrest for the 2009 shooting and said that a conviction for the offense would have barred his qualification into the diversion program.
"Why is this guy at least a candidate (for diversion)? Because nothing else has worked," McLaughlin reportedly said. McLaughlin’s decision was approved by another judge while a report by a social worker also pushed for it, detailing a troubled life at home and referring to his longtime addiction to PCP.
He was bailed out in February after pleading guilty to the drug charge and was appearing regularly in court until August. Just days later, he shot and wounded a gang member. Before Tuesday’s shooting, police officials had tried to arrest him 10 times at different addresses
At Wednesday's arraignment, Howard was seen wearing a white jumpsuit and slouching. His attorney Brian Kennedy, who said that he was not sure if Howard would testify in front of the grand jury, said that he was suffering from chest pain.
"There's a lot of details we don't yet know in this tragic event," Kennedy said, according to AP, adding: "We don't know Mr. Howard's involvement. We don't know if there was a gun recovered. There's a lot of missing details."
Holder, a five-year veteran, is the second NYPD officer to be killed in the line of duty this year and the fourth in the past 11 months. The 33-year-old officer, whose grandfather and father were also police officers, had made 125 arrests and was awarded six departmental citations during his career.
"Once you met him, you loved him," George Johnson, Holder's cousin, said, according to AP, adding: "He was respectful. There was nothing not to like about him. Everything about him was good."