Officer Arthur Lopez's last words played at accused killer's hearing
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A recording of some of Nassau County police Officer Arthur Lopez's last words played in a courtroom Monday, his sister bowing her head and weeping as his accused killer sat shackled nearby.
Darrell Fuller, a 34-year-old ex-convict, faces first-degree murder charges in connection with Lopez's Oct. 23, 2012, line-of-duty death, and the fatal shooting of Raymond Facey, a 58-year-old Brooklyn man, minutes later.
Charo Lopez, the fallen officer's sister, said after the pretrial hearing at the Nassau County Courthouse that she was both proud and sad to hear the sound of her brother's voice for the first time since he died.
She said the pride came from how professional he sounded as he radioed in details about a fleeing suspect to police dispatch shortly before suffering a fatal gunshot to the chest.
"My new year's resolution is to put a killer behind bars with no parole," the 42-year-old Westchester woman said.
Among the witnesses, an NYPD officer testified yesterday about being first to arrive at the scene where the then-unknown gunman shot Lopez by the Cross Island Parkway at the Queens border.
The officer said he saw Lopez on the ground near a police vehicle and Lopez's partner, Officer Clarence Hudson, trying to save his life.
Prosecutors have said Fuller, of St. Albans, fled the scene of an accident before shooting Lopez as the 29-year-old officer approached his car after it stopped. Fuller then drove off again, shooting Facey and stealing his car, authorities said.
Law enforcement officials have said Fuller then "staged his own shooting" to try to make himself look like a victim.
Nassau Police Benevolent Association president James Carver said it was a difficult day for the families of both victims and fellow police officers who packed the courtroom.
"It's very emotional to hear his voice again, for the last time," Carver said of the fallen officer.
Before the police recording ended, Lopez's partner could be heard calling for a stop to all other radio traffic on the frequency, and then asking for an ambulance "forthwith."
Fuller is facing life in prison without parole if a jury finds him guilty. At the time of his arrest on murder charges, he was on parole after serving prison time for a 2005 attempted murder conviction. Authorities previously said he violated parole in 2010 and went to jail for about a year after a guilty plea on drug charges.
Fuller's family and his defense attorney, Kenneth St. Bernard, declined to comment after the hearing.
The proceeding included a ruling from Judge Jerald Carter that Fuller is competent to stand trial, and the display of crime scene photos from Facey's shooting.
Facey's widow wiped away tears while looking at the photos on a television screen of her husband's body in a lane of the Cross Island Parkway. The shooting happened after he'd pulled over to use his cellphone.
June Facey said later that seeing the photos made her remember for the first time what her husband of eight years had been wearing on the last day of his life.
"For his sake, I have to stand this out," she said.