NEW YORK – A New York City police officer charged with covering up for her husband after he was arrested in the shooting of another officer said she is sorry for what happened.
"I'm very sorry for the injury to the fellow officer," said Jacqueline Melendez Rivera, 37, standing outside her mother-in-law's apartment on Monday, referring to officer Andrew Suarez.
Suarez, in plain clothes, was sitting with fellow officers in a car in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn early Saturday morning when a sport utility vehicle pulled up alongside.
The SUV driver asked "You got a beef?" before opening fire on the officers. Suarez, in the driver's seat, was struck under the arm. His fellow officers returned fire, hitting the vehicle as it sped off but not the two people inside, the police said. Suarez was at New York Methodist Hospital Monday in stable condition.
After a search for the car on Saturday morning, police came across Officer Rivera behind the wheel of the SUV. She told officers she was moving it from an illegal parking space. Officers noticed the broken windows and damage from the bullets and became suspicious, police said.
Police charged Rivera's husband, Jose, 31, with attempted murder in the shooting. A second man taken into custody was not charged or identified by police.
Police have said Rivera was trying to cover up the shooting to protect her husband by moving the car. But she told police she was just moving it.
"She did not know that a crime took place or that an officer was hit. She's seven months pregnant. She's active in her church and community," said Rivera's lawyer, Jay Schwitzman.
Ezra Levy, a lawyer for Rivera's husband, said his client "denies everything."
Rivera, a 13-year veteran, is a domestic violence officer in Brooklyn's 81st Precinct. Her husband is on parole for an assault conviction after pleading guilty to shooting a man in 1996 and served about four and a half years in prison, according to corrections records.