By Gabriel Rom
Tyrone Howard, accused of gunning-down NYPD officer Randolph Holder, pleaded not-guilty to murder in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, Tuesday.
Howard, 31, is charged with the murder of a police officer, two counts of robbery, gun possession and other crimes. His lawyer, Michael Hurwitz, said Howard was pleading not guilty to each count.
“This prosecution will not bring back this brave public servant, but we hope, by seeking justice, it will bring a measure of comfort for Detective Holder’s family, his colleagues in the NYPD, and the city as a whole,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., said in a statement.
Justice Michael Obus said Tuesday that he would allow Howard to stay in the city jail system, instead of a prison upstate, so that he could meet with his attorney.
Standing outside the courthouse, Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch drew comparisons between the work of the NYPD and defending cities across the world from terrorism.
“Police officers at this time, when we have terrible attacks in France, when we’re on guard here in New York City to make sure that doesn’t happen on our shores, the people that are making sure that doesn’t happen … are standing behind me today,” Lynch said in front of a crowd of police officers.
Lynch called Holder, who was posthumously promoted to detective by Police Commissioner William Bratton, “an ordinary hero,” who had been murdered by a “miscreant to justice.”
Holder, 33, who was born in Guyana and moved to Far Rockaway 12 years ago, was shot in the head and killed Oct. 20 responding to a report of gang-related gunshots in Upper Manhattan.
He is the fourth officer killed since December 2014, when two uniformed police officers — Wenjian Liu, 32, and Rafael Ramos, 40 — were ambushed in Brooklyn. The suspect in that shooting, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, committed suicide in a subway station. Officer Brian Moore, 25, died in May two days after he was shot by a gunman who fired into his patrol car in Queens Village. The suspect, Demetrius Blackwell, 35, has been charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and other crimes. He has pleaded not guilty.
Reach reporter Gabriel Rom by e-mail at [email protected]