Tyrone Howard, the East Harlem man convicted of murder for shooting NYPD Officer Randolph Holder in the head during a 2015 chase, was imprisoned for life without parole Monday in a Manhattan courtroom filled with a sea of blue uniforms.
The courtroom erupted in applause and one spectator shouted, “He’s a [expletive]. Burn in hell,” as Howard left the courtroom in a suit and shackles following an emotional sentencing that included remarks from the father of the deceased 33-year-old Guyanese-born officer.
Randolph Holder Sr., the father, refused to use Howard’s name during his comments to Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus, instead referring to Howard as “that beast.”
“It has been a very hard and hectic year for my family because of that beast over there,” Holder said. “ . . . I prefer to call him a beast because he shouldn’t have been on the street to do what he was doing. I think he should be put away for life.”
Holder said Howard had dashed the dreams of his son, who came to the United States and became a police officer in search of a better life.
“I want to let him know that crime doesn’t pay,” he said. “We still feel the pain of my son’s death and he is still breathing.”
Howard, 33, was involved in a shooting spree at E. 102d St. near the East River Promenade on Oct. 20, 2015. As police responded, he stole a bicycle at gunpoint. Holder and another officer responded, and instead of fleeing Howard shot Holder at point-blank range.
Prosecutor Linda Ford told Obus that Howard had a long criminal record dating back to 1997 for drugs and robbery offenses, and had done several prison stints. In 2014 he was accused of trying to sell crack and PCP, but got sentenced to a drug diversion program instead of prison.
Subsequently, Ford said, he stopped attending the drug program and failed to appear in court in September 2015, leaving him out on the street to kill Holder. She said he had multiple opportunities to change his life, and never took them.
“When a police officer is killed in the line of duty, justice must be swift, justice must be sure, and justice must be final,” she told the judge.
Howard said nothing. Obus said he would have to serve 12 years on the drug charge that was pending at the time of the killing before beginning his sentence of life without parole.
With more than 100 uniformed NYPD officers looking on from seats and standing on the sides and rear, Obus said right until the end, Howard had choices and made the worst one.
“He considered only his own interests and he is a very dangerous individual,” Obus said.