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The man accused of shooting a police officer in South Jamaica during a late night chase in August appeared in Queens Supreme Court last Thursday, where he was arraigned on an attempted murder charge.
John Thomas appeared briefly in court, dressed in an orange city Department of Correction uniform, as he was charged with attempted murder, criminal possession of a weapon and assault on a police officer.
Police said Sgt. CraigBier, a member of the NYPD’s Queens gang unit, and his partner had been driving east on 107th Avenue near the South Jamica Houses around 10:30 p.m. Aug. 8 when they attempted to stop a man riding a bicycle.
The man fled down an alley, climbed a fence and entered a parking lot, police said, where Bier was waiting to cut him off.
It was then the suspect opened fire and squeezed off four shots from a handgun recovered at the scene, according to the police, striking Bier in both legs as the officer returned six shots.
Bier was treated for non-life-threatening injuries at Jamaica Hospital, where Mayor Michael Bloomberg alongside Police Commissioner Ray Kelly announced cops had a taken a suspect into custody.
The next day, however, police released a photo of the 24-year-old Thomas, who the NYPD said was the shooting suspect. A $20,000 reward was offered for information leading to his arrest and conviction.
A month went by and on Sept. 9 Thomas, accompanied by his lawyer, surrendered himself to detectives in the Pep Boys parking lot on the corner of Liberty Avenue and Merrick Boulevard, according to the NYPD.
Thomas’ attorney, Ikiesha Al-Shabazz, told TimesLedger Newspapers she believed the police erroneously identified her client as the suspect.
Al-Shabazz, who previously represented the hip-hop artist Foxy Brown in a Brooklyn civil case, said she was told Thomas was named by an unknown police informant.
“I’m of the mind the police don’t know who shot Mr. Bier,” she said.
Thomas is next due in court Nov. 28.
Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4574.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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