Suffolk police say an ex-NYPD officer shot his estranged wife...

Suffolk police say an ex-NYPD officer shot his estranged wife in her Middle Island home, then hit an ambulance responding to the scene on East Bartlet Road south of Middle County Road as he tried to flee in his car. (Oct. 20, 2009) Credit: David Rubin

The former city police officer who police say shot his estranged wife several times in the Middle Island home they once shared pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Saturday.

Darryl Fowler, 43, who left the NYPD 10 years ago, burst into the house through a locked door just before 11 p.m. Tuesday and shot his wife, Michelle, 46, five times as she lay in bed, prosecutors say. She survived and remains hospitalized at Stony Brook University Medical Center.

At Fowler's arraignment in First District Court in Central Islip, a Suffolk prosecutor said Fowler "kicked in the door" of the home before opening fire. He drove away, only to sideswipe an ambulance rushing to the scene and crash into a tree, the prosecutor said. Fowler was found with a revolver in his waistband, officials said.

Fowler, who was treated at Stony Brook for a head injury, was charged with attempted murder, burglary, assault, aggravated criminal contempt and criminal use of a weapon.

He was ordered held on $1 million bail or $2 million bond. A grand jury is expected to hear the case this week.

Orders of protection were issued against Fowler in April and on Sept. 29, stemming from two domestic disturbances at the house, officials said.

Fowler's attorney, Frank Doddato of Garden City, said Fowler has no criminal history and was an NYPD officer for a decade before being disabled in the line of duty in a car crash. He works in construction and as a handyman, Doddato said.

About a dozen Fowler family members and supporters attended the hearing. Afterward, an elderly man whom Doddato identified as Fowler's father, Teddy, sat down on a bench outside the courtroom and appeared to have trouble breathing. Court officers offered him medical help and a wheelchair, but the aid was refused.

Another man in the group who declined to give his name said, "Our family is sorry for the other family, Michelle's family."

Doddato said members of the Fowler family "want to extend their hopes that Mrs. Fowler makes a full recovery."

He said Fowler's father, and the rest of his family, had been through an "emotionally draining" experience.

"They are taking it particularly hard," Doddato said, calling the family "close-knit."

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