Calling the shooting of an NYPD officer from Long Island "a heinous assassination attempt," a Brooklyn prosecutor Thursday said there will be no plea negotiations with suspect Luis Ortiz, and a judge ordered him held without bail.
Ortiz shot Officer Kevin Brennan, 29, of Garden City Park, once in the head during a struggle Tuesday night at the Bushwick Houses in Brooklyn, authorities said. The bullet lodged at the base of Brennan's skull and was removed in an operation at Bellevue Hospital Center, where the officer had been taken in critical condition. The condition of the veteran NYPD officer and father of a 6-week-old daughter has been upgraded to stable.
Ortiz has been charged with first-degree attempted murder and numerous related felony counts. He did not enter a plea or speak during his arraignment Thursday. If convicted of all counts, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.
Several dozen police officers, in uniform and in plainclothes, packed the courtroom.
Ortiz's court-appointed attorney, Eric Poulos, said outside court that his client is not guilty, adding that there is no evidence linking Ortiz, 21, to the .38-caliber revolver used to shoot Brennan. He said that the prosecution was using political language -- language intended to poison any jury pool.
Assistant District Attorney Lewis Lieberman called it "an evil act by an individual."
"If somebody takes a gun and puts it to the head of another individual at close range and fires, I would call that an assassination attempt," he said.
Lieberman said video surveillance obtained from the city Housing Authority complex shows Brennan and his partners chasing Ortiz. He said the fact that the officers did not fire during that foot pursuit showed "remarkable restraint."
Ortiz was arrested in his uncle's fifth-floor apartment not far from the shooting. Police said the revolver used to shoot Brennan was found on the ground below that apartment.
The case is scheduled to go to a grand jury Monday.
Meanwhile, Brennan's family Thursday expressed anger at the taunts shouted by Ortiz after his arrest.
Mother-in-law Marie Dempsey said she was disgusted by the behavior. "I think it's terrible," she said.
Dempsey said her daughter Janet was at her husband's side at the hospital.
NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said Thursday that Brennan was lucid, though he suffered pain to his shoulders and neck when awake.
Asked if there might be a promotion for Brennan, Kelly replied, "We will see."
Police said Ortiz had been wanted for questioning in connection with a January homicide and had 14 previous arrests before his arrest in Brennan's shooting.
With Anthony M. DeStefano, Ellen Yan, Emily Ngo, Matthew Chayes, Gary Dymski, John Valenti
and Igor Kossov