Luis Ortiz is brought into Judge Tomei's courtroom at Brooklyn...

Luis Ortiz is brought into Judge Tomei's courtroom at Brooklyn Supreme Court in the Brooklyn. (July 03, 2013) Credit: Charles Eckert

The gunman convicted of attempted murder for firing a bullet into the head of NYPD Officer Kevin Brennan of Garden City Park was sentenced Tuesday to 40 years to life in prison.

Luis Ortiz, 23, who also was sentenced to life without parole for murdering Shannon McKinney during a robbery, was told by the judge that he deserved "to spend the rest of your life in a soulless, loveless, compassionless environment."

Earlier this month, it took jurors in Brooklyn less than three hours to find Ortiz guilty of the murder and of shooting Brennan, who was responding to a call that shots had been fired near a Bushwick housing project.

Ortiz shot Brennan one month after he used the same handgun to kill McKinney in a New Year's Day robbery in 2012.

Brennan, 29, reading from a statement in a courtroom crowded with his family, friends and fellow officers, asked the judge not to spare Ortiz because of his youth.

"I was a victim of a cowardly act," Brennan said. "I know the defense will ask for leniency because he was only 21 years old when he tried to kill me. But my age was not factored in. Age should have nothing to do with your decision."

"When I was 21, I was in the police academy," he said, adding that Ortiz "chose at age 21 to sell drugs and shoot people."

Brennan noted the bullet fragments that were not removed "can shift and cause me harm and even death."

Brennan, who was promoted in June 2012 to sergeant, said: "I have done what I can and nearly gave up my life. I did my part. The jury did their part. I respectfully request that you do your part by sentencing him to the maximum allowed by law."

Delivering his sentence, Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Albert Tomei said: "You, Luis Ortiz, took a soulless, bloodless, heartless piece of steel and turned it into a killing machine."

The judge said Ortiz's actions were "senseless and irrational" in killing McKinney, who had already turned over his money. "And that was not enough. Using the same killing machine, you tried to kill Detective Brennan," Tomei said.

The judge praised Brennan for "showing unbelievable restraint" while pursuing Ortiz, adding Brennan represented "what is best about being a police officer."

As the judge read the sentence, Ortiz turned his head to stare at Brennan, who stared back without emotion.

Prosecutor Lew Lieberman, in asking for a life sentence, said the murder and attempted murder were "not out of character for the defendant. He lost a link to his humanity and he knew what he was doing. He never expressed remorse."

Melissa Carvajal, assistant district attorney, read a statement by Brennan's wife, Janet: "Each day I see the pain that went through my husband's body. I could not hug him or kiss him." One of the most awful moments was when Brennan "could not hold our [infant] daughter because the pain was too much," she said.

After the sentencing, Janet Brennan said, "It's a relief."

Brennan's wound has caused lifelong injuries to his spine, and his peripheral vision was severely impaired.

Defense attorney John Burke asked the judge not to prevent Ortiz from ever being released. "We're asking you to fashion some sort of sentence that gives him hope. . . . Life without hope is meaningless," he said.

After the verdict, Burke said: "We'll be appealing the sentence and the verdict."

Police officers in civilian clothes cheered Brennan, applauding after he left the courtroom and again when he left the courthouse.

After the verdict, Brennan's family and friends gathered in a huddle, offering somber hugs and well wishes to one another.

With Joan Gralla

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