Witness attends as NYC officer pleads not guilty in shooting attack that injured man in car


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WHITE PLAINS, New York — A man who had to rush his passenger to a hospital after his car was shot up at a suburban intersection came to court Thursday for the arraignment of the New York City policeman charged in the apparently random attack.

Robert Borrelli said it was important for him to see Officer Brendan Cronin "as part of my healing process." And he said he wanted Cronin to see his face, since on the night of the shooting "the only part of me that he saw was the back of my head."

Cronin, 27, of Yonkers, pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder, assault and drunken driving. According to court documents, he told Pelham police after his arrest that he'd had 10 drinks of beer and whiskey before the shooting.

Cronin was quiet in court, saying only "I understand" when Judge Barbara Zambelli imposed protection orders to keep him away from Borrelli and the injured man, Joseph Felice.

Cronin's lawyer, Pierre Sussman, entered the not-guilty plea.

Neither Cronin nor his lawyer would comment outside the courtroom.

Prosecutors say Cronin approached a car that was stopped at a traffic light in Pelham on April 29 and fired about 14 shots, hitting Felice six times. Felice and Borrelli have told police they don't know Cronin, and court papers indicate Cronin told police he didn't know what had happened.

Felice and Borrelli have served notice they intend to sue.

Their lawyer, Randolph McLaughlin, said Thursday that surveillance video shows that Cronin parked his own car, "deliberately and purposefully" advanced on Borrelli's car from behind and "just started shooting."

The video has not been made public.

He said Felice, who was hit in his chest, back, arm and shoulder, was still recovering.

The judge set a court conference for July 24.

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