By Rebecca Henely
A jury convicted a Manhattan man Friday who shot two police officers and tried to shoot a third inside the Queensbridge subway station three years ago, the Queens district attorney’s office said. Raul Nunez, 35, of Cherry Street, could spend more than 50 years in prison, the DA said.
Nunez was found guilty of two counts of attempted manslaughter, one count of assault and one count of criminal possession of a weapon for a crime that injured one officer so badly he could no longer work, the DA said. Acting Queens Supreme Court Justice Barry Kron set Nunez’s sentence for April 7, when Nunez faces more than 50 years in prison, the DA said.
Testimony during the trial revealed that on Oct. 21, 2008, between 5:05 p.m. and 5:10 p.m., Nunez entered a turnstile at the station on 21st Street and 41st Avenue in Long Island City using a student MetroCard, the DA said. Since he was not authorized to use this type of card, NYPD Officers Jason Maass and Shane Farina stopped him as Nunez walked down the platform and asked to see his MetroCard and identification, the DA said. When Nunez said he did not have an ID, they cuffed his left wrist, the DA said. Before they could cuff his right wrist Nunez fought back and Nunez, Maass and Farina fell to the ground in the scuffle, the DA said.
Then Nunez took Maass’ 9mm handgun and shot both officers, the DA said. Farina was hit in one of his lungs and his small intestine and Maass was struck in the lower back, the DA said.
After the shooting, Nunez ran up an escalator, gun in hand, the DA said. When he reached the subway station’s main level, he fired at NYPD Lt. Gary Abrahall, but missed, the DA said. Abrahall fired back and hit Nunez three times, the DA said.
Maass’ injuries were severe enough to force him to retire at 28 years old, the DA said. Dr. Unsup Kim of Elmhurst Hospital, where both officers were treated, said during a 2008 interview with TimesLedger Newspapers that the bullet entered Farina’s body very close to a blood vessel that it missed.
“This case underscores, once again, the real dangers that our police officers face each day in the performance of their duty,” said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown in a statement. “What could be described as the routine stopping of a suspected fare beater shows that there is nothing routine in police work.”
Nunez said after he was arrested he had resisted because he was in America illegally and feared being deported to his home country of the Dominican Republic, the DA said.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.