NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- A sea of blue packed a Queens courtroom Thursday for the arrignment of a man accused of murdering one of their own.
Demetrius Blackwell pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and other charges in the May 2 shooting death of Officer Brian Moore.
Hours earlier, a grand jury handed down a 12-count indictment against Blackwell in Moore's death.
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown announced the grand jury results.
"The defendant is accused of firing a weapon at two police officers without warning, killing one of them," said Brown. "The defendant's alleged actions are a direct attack on society and the law and reminds us of the dangers that our police officers face each day – and the ultimate sacrifice they may be called upon to make – as they carry out their sworn duty to protect and serve our communities."
Suspect Indicted On Murder Charges In Death Of NYPD Officer Brian Moore
The indictment includes aggravated murder, second-degree murder, attempted murder, weapon possession, drug and stolen property charges.
Police said Moore, 25, and his partner had approached Blackwell that night after they saw him adjusting his waistband. Authorities said Blackwell refused to stop, turned and fired at the officers. Moore was shot twice in the head and died two days later.
Grand Jury Hands Down Indictment In Death Of NYPD Officer Brian Moore
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton posthumously promoted Moore to detective first grade. The 25-year-old Moore was the son, nephew and cousin of police officers.
He became the first city officer to be killed on duty since two uniformed police officers were slain in December in Brooklyn.
Brown said that after Blackwell shot Moore, he stole a T-shirt and a pair of sneakers in an attempt to alter his appearance. At the time of his arrest, Blackwell allegedly possessed small amounts of cocaine and marijuana.
"The defendant's alleged conduct, and his total disregard for the law and authority, clearly demonstrate that he is a serious threat to society,'' Brown told reporters.
If convicted, Blackwell faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.
State corrections records show Blackwell was convicted in 2001 of attempted murder after he pointed a gun at an occupant of a car during a robbery attempt and then fired shots at the vehicle. He served five years behind bars and was sent back to prison for violating parole in 2007. He was released again in 2008.
Authorities said Blackwell was also arrested in 2013 after he grabbed an NYPD detective's badge and spit at him.
Blackwell's attorney, David Bart, has said that his client "has no particular animus toward police officers'' and that he "emphatically denies'' the charges against him.
Bart gave notice that he may pursue an insanity defense, WCBS 880's Irene Cornell reported.
"Just because I'm pursuing mental disease or defect doesn't mean I'm not also looking at making sure they have the right guy," Bart said. "Making sure they can prove all elements of the crime. Everything's on the table at this point."
To that, Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch said: "He's been in prison before. He's not insane. He's a bad, evil person that killed a New York City police officer. So we have a home for him. He likes to be called 'Hell-Raiser.' Well, we have bars for you, and you can raise hell behind those bars."
At Thursday's arraignment, Lynch said, "We'll fill this court room to send two messages that you cannot raise a hand to a New York City police officer. If you do we will not forget. And the second message to this family we will not forget you."
Bart said his client is bipolar and was on medication at the time of the murder, CBS2's Hazel Sanchez reported
He is due back in court in September.
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