An NYPD sergeant from Hicksville said he feels vindicated after the Queens man who shot him was convicted of attempted murder on Thursday, almost three years after Sgt. Craig Bier was shot.
The jury late Thursday afternoon found John F. Thomas, 27, of 109th Avenue in Jamaica, guilty of all charges, which included first-degree attempted murder of a police officer, aggravated assault on a police officer, assault on a police officer, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and second-degree assault.
He faces up to 40 years to life in prison at his sentencing on July 29 before Queens Supreme Court Justice Gregory L. Lasak, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown's office said.
"I have a whole slew of emotions," Bier said after the conviction Thursday. "It was weighing down on me. It was a chapter in my life I'd rather put behind me, and I'm sure sentencing will be the final touch, but it just feels like it's been a weight lifted off my shoulders."
Bier, 47, was on patrol as part of an anti-gang unit when he approached Thomas at the intersection of 107th Avenue and Union Hall Street in Jamaica about 10:30 p.m. on Aug. 8, 2012. He identified himself as an officer and Thomas fled, with Bier in pursuit. When his escape was blocked by a fence, Thomas pulled out a gun and they exchanged gunfire, police officials said at the time. Thomas shot Bier twice, hitting him in both legs, Bier said. Three years later, he still feels aches and pains "when it rains or it snows." But, he added, "I'm happy to be alive and fairly intact."
Bier, who joined the force in 1997 and now works as a sergeant in the fugitive task force, complimented the prosecutors for securing a conviction. He wasn't in court Thursday, but said he plans to be there for sentencing next month.
"I'm going to thank the court and everyone who was part of the decision," Bier said, "but as for what I'm going to say to the defendant, I'll have to think about that."
Thomas' defense attorney, Ikiesha Al-Shabazz, did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment on the conviction.