Why was accused cop killer on streets?

A man suspected of gunning down a police officer had been let out of jail and allowed to enter a drug treatment program despite an extensive arrest record that included felony convictions, leading to questions about why he was chosen for the program in the first place.

The NYPD arrested the suspect Wednesday in the shooting death of an officer in East Harlem the night before. Authorities charged Tyrone Howard, 30, with first-degree murder and first-degree robbery, police said. Police said that Howard shot Police Officer Randolph Holder in the head, killing him. Holder, a five-year veteran of the force, was fatally wounded in a gunfight and chase through a pedestrian overpass leading to the East River after responding to reports of shots fired, police said.

Howard was wounded in the leg and captured a few blocks away. He remains in police custody.VIEW GALLERY

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said Howard was a dangerous career criminal who never should have been on the streets, referring ot him as a "poster boy for not being diverted" to a treatment-oriented drug court instead of to prison.

Randolp[h, a 33-year-old native of Guyana, was the fourth city officer to be killed in the last 11 months, said Police Commissioner William Bratton. He was pronounced dead late Tuesday night.

"That's about as bad as it gets," Bratton said at an emotional news conference at Harlem Hospital early Wednesday morning.

Dozens of Holder's fellow officers stood outside the hospital early Wednesday and saluted as the ambulance carrying their fallen colleague left. Afterward, many embraced one another.

"Tonight, he did what every other officer in the NYPD does when the call comes -- he ran toward danger," Bratton said. "It was the last time he will respond to that call."

Witnesses told the officers a group of men had fled on a foot path that runs adjacent to the East River, and the officers encountered another man who told them an assailant had stolen his bicycle at gunpoint.

Holder and another officer confronted the armed man and exchanged gunfire at East 120th Street and the FDR Drive, Bratton said. The officer was struck, and the shooter fled on foot. One witness said she heard at least five shots.

Holder, assigned to PSA 5 in the Housing Bureau, was taken to Harlem Hospital.

"We are humbled by Officer Randolph Holder's example, an example of service and courage and sacrifice," de Blasio said. "Our hearts are heavy. We offer our thoughts and our prayers to his family."

The native of Guyana worked in the NYPD division that polices the city's public housing developments. His father and grandfather both were police officers in Guyana, Bratton said.

"He represented the best of our society," said de Blasio during a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

Holder, who joined the force in July 2010, had an "exemplary record" as a police officer.

Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said: "New York City police officers everyday go out and carry themselves like superheroes but the reality is when we're attacked we bleed, when we bleed we die and when we die we cry."

Nationwide, 100 officers have died in the line of duty so far in 2015, up 15 percent from this time last year, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, a nonprofit law enforcement information clearinghouse. Of those, 31 were firearms-related deaths.

In New York City, Officer Brian Moore, 25, was killed on May 9 during a patrol. A suspect was charged with murder. And on Dec. 20, officers Wenjian Liu, 32, and Rafael Ramos, 40 were ambushed and killed by a man who said he wanted to kill some cops in Brooklyn. The suspect killed himself in a nearby subway station.

With the Associated Press

Funeral Information for Police Officer Randolph Holder


Tuesday, October 27, 2015, 9am-6pm
Community Church of the Nazarene
1414 Central Avenue
Far Rockaway, NY 11691


Wednesday, October 28, 2015, 3pm
Community Church of the Nazarene
1414 Central Avenue
Far Rockaway, NY 11691


Georgetown, Guyana