June 11, 2010
By MARK TOOR
Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick J. Lynch excoriated the state Parole Board for its release of the man who killed Police Officer Stephen Gilroy during a robbery in Brooklyn in 1973.
|PATRICK J. LYNCH: ‘Worst possible decision.’ Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick J. Lynch excoriated the state Parole Board for its release of the man who killed Police Officer Stephen Gilroy during a robbery in Brooklyn in 1973.|
“Tragically, in the case of this murdering animal, the worst possible decision was made,” Mr. Lynch said in a statement June 4.
“What the hell were they thinking?” asked Officer Gilroy’s widow, Patricia Gilroy.
Officer Gilroy’s killer, Shu’aib Rahim, 60, will be freed by July 8, a state Parole Division spokesman said.
Officer Gilroy, 29, was assigned to the Emergency Services Unit on Jan. 19, 1973, when he responded to a call of a robbery with shots fired at John and Al’s Sporting Goods Store at 927 Broadway. The four robbers were heavily armed and the robbery developed into a 47-hour hostage situation, the longest in NYPD history. Police surrounded the store, and Officer Gilroy was shot and fatally wounded as he positioned himself behind an El pillar. Police Officer Frank Carpentier was shot in the knee as he tried to drag Officer Gilroy to safety. Another officer was also wounded.
After Officer Gilroy was shot, Mr. Raheem is reported to have said, “We killed a cop. We can kill anyone else we want now.” The robbery ended when one of the hostages persuaded the robbers that he and the others would be safer on the second floor, out of the line of police gunfire. Once on the second floor, they escaped. The robbers then surrendered.
Mr. Raheem and his accomplices were convicted of murder, kidnapping and robbery, and he was sentenced to 25 years to life. He was granted parole in 2007, but the board put the release on hold after protests from Officer Gilroy’s family, police officials and officers who survived the robbery. The PBA said at the time that the board had not heard testimony from the officer’s family and from surviving hostages, as it was required to do by law.
‘Justice Demands Life Sentence’
Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly also condemned the release, saying, “Parole should never be an option for Shu’aib Raheem or anyone who murders a police officer.”
“I cannot express in words how angry New York City police officers are about the unjust and wrong-headed decision by the Parole Board of New York State to release a cold-blooded cop killer into society,” Mr. Lynch said. “Today, we can expect a semblance of justice in that a convicted cop killer can be sentenced to life without parole. But back in the ’70s no such sentence was available so families of murdered police officers and the PBA have been forced to fight against the release of cop-killers every two years . . . . We firmly believe that justice demands the incarceration for life for all cop-killers regardless of when they were convicted.”
Ms. Gilroy said, “My family and Steve’s family and the families of the hostages and all the police officers involved are left to wonder what exactly justice is? It sure isn’t this decision.”