HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. – An ex-convict suspected of gunning down a New York policeman and a carjacking victim was charged Thursday with two counts of first-degree murder as he appeared in a courtroom packed with officers.
About 50 police officers, most in uniform, stood in the courtroom and about 50 more filled the hallways during Darrell Fuller's initial appearance on Long Island. He also faces robbery and weapons charges.
Fuller spoke inaudibly in response to the judge's questions. No plea was entered, and the defense didn't ask for bail.
Fuller had been transferred from a hospital to police headquarters on Wednesday. He was hospitalized Tuesday after police say he suffered self-inflicted gunshot wounds.
Police say Fuller was arrested hours after he fatally shot Nassau County Officer Arthur Lopez, who had suspected Fuller had been involved in a hit-and-run car accident.
The 33-year-old Queens man is suspected of fleeing that shooting and then killing a man while carjacking his vehicle.
Fuller served four years in prison after pleading guilty to attempted murder in 2005, authorities said. He was jailed again in 2010 after violating his parole on a drug arrest but was released in May 2011 because there was insufficient evidence to support a stiffer sentence, the Nassau district attorney said.
"This is a man who should rot in hell and never see the light of day again," said James Carver, president of the Nassau County police union.
Lopez was shot Tuesday in what had started out as a traffic stop near the Belmont Park horse track.
The 29-year-old Lopez was on patrol in Bellerose Terrace, a community at the border of Queens and Nassau County. He and his partner spotted a damaged silver Honda that was "running on rims" and suspected it was wanted for leaving the scene of a hit-and-run accident, authorities said.
The officers followed the car, and it pulled over. There was "a brief exchange of words" between Lopez and the driver before the driver left the vehicle and fired one round into Lopez's chest, police Chief Steven Skrynecki said, adding that the officer wasn't wearing a bulletproof vest.
The shooter got back into his car and drove away, and then accosted 52-year-old Queens resident Raymond Facey, authorities said. He shot the man in the head, dragged him out of his car and left him dead on the roadway and then drove away, they said.
Facey's daughter, Abbigail, told the New York Post that he had pulled over to call her to discuss a family trip to Jamaica to celebrate his mother's 80th birthday.
A funeral for Lopez is planned for Saturday on Long Island.