Jonathan Vazquez leaves Nassau County Court in Mineola on Thursday.

Jonathan Vazquez leaves Nassau County Court in Mineola on Thursday. Credit: Newsday

A Bay Shore man accused of opening fire on police officers in February when authorities said he was on a three-week crime spree was arraigned on two counts of attempted first-degree murder and other charges Thursday in Nassau County Court.

Authorities said Jonathan Vazquez, 20, shot at Nassau police officers trying to arrest him on Feb. 28. The defendant, an alleged member of the ICG Crips street gang,  pleaded not guilty to the charges during an arraignment before Nassau County Court Judge Tammy Robbins in Mineola.

“This charged violent behavior threatened the lives of residents and officers, and we are fortunate that no one was killed," Nassau District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly said in a statement after the arraignment.

A 12-count grand jury indictment handed down March 25 charged Vazquez with two counts of second-degree attempted murder, first-degree robbery, two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon and second-degree assault. He is scheduled to return to court April 25. 

If convicted, Vazquez could face a maximum sentence of 160 years to life in prison, officials said.

A grand jury indictment also charged Vazquez with two counts of second-degree attempted murder, first-degree robbery, weapons violations and second-degree assault. He is scheduled to return to court on April 25. 

“This defendant’s alleged three-week crime spree only came to an end after a harrowing police pursuit through Uniondale. During the pursuit, Jonathan Vazquez is alleged to have pointed his gun at officers and fired multiple rounds,” Donnelly said. 

Vazquez’s attorney, Fred Pollack of Mineola, declined to comment on the charges.

Prosecutors said two officers assigned to the Nassau police Bureau of Special Operations spotted a black Dodge Charger on Feb. 28 in  Uniondale that had been linked to a robbery earlier that month. They determined that the Charger, which did not have a front license plate and had tinted windows, had been stolen. 

The defendant sped off after the officers attempted to stop him, crashing into three cars before coming to a stop on Nassau Road, prosecutors said. Vazquez fired two rounds from the driver’s seat of the Charger. One bullet struck the hood of a police vehicle. 

The officers returned fire, according to prosecutors. As backup officers arrived, Vazquez ignored police commands to stop and instead drove off until stopping at Arthur Street. The defendant got out of the vehicle, turned towards police and pointed his gun, pulling the trigger. He then fled but was arrested on Van Buren Street after a lengthy foot chase through backyards and over fences. Police recovered a gun at the time of the arrest. A police officer injured his knee during the chase. 

Prosecutors said Vazquez’s crime spree began on Feb. 8, when he and another man fired approximately 17 rounds at a victim outside an apartment complex on Martin Luther King Drive in Hempstead. The victim was hit in the upper thigh and taken to a hospital. The other suspect remains at large, police said. 

On Feb. 16, according to prosecutors, Vazquez also approached a woman on Ridge Lane in Levittown and pointed a gun at the woman’s face. Vazquez demanded money and her pocketbook, and then fled in a black Dodge Charger.

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