The career criminal suspected of shooting an off-duty NYPD cop during a robbery gone wrong will be charged with attempted murder, police officials said Tuesday — with the charges to be upgraded if gravely wounded officer is pronounced dead.
Randy “Popper” Jones, 38, was hauled back to Brooklyn on Monday after police hunted him down at a Rockland County hotel.
“He fled but he could not evade our reach,” NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said at a press briefing. “In less than 46 hours he was handcuffed by an NYPD detective assigned to the US Marshals Regional Fugitive Task Force.
“The victim, in this case, is an NYPD officer,” Sewell said. “But we will relentlessly pursue anyone who carries it in firearms or shoots someone in this city.”
The critically-injured officer — married father of two Adeed Fayaz, 26, — meanwhile remained on life support at Brookdale Hospital after being shot on Saturday evening after he and his brother-in-law responded to a Facebook Marketplace ad for a car in East New York.
His family gathered at the hospital Tuesday as the cop clung to life, with other members of New York’s Finest consoling relatives and standing watch.
Police sources said doctors would be checking again for brain activity and that the officer could be taken off life-support as early as Tuesday.
NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig announced the expected charges against Jones at a press briefing, describing how the suspected cop shooter ambushed Fayaz and his brother-in-law after the two showed up to buy a Honda Pilot he was purportedly selling for $24,000 on Facebook.
“[Jones] then asked jokingly, ‘Are youse guys carrying a gun?’ Both men responded no,” Essig told reporters Tuesday morning.
“At this time on perpetrator grabs [Fayaz] in a headlock, points the gun at his head and demands the money,” Essig said.
“Our officer states he doesn’t have the money, at which time the perpetrator points the firearm at the brother-in-law,” Essig said. “Police officer Fayaz is able to break free at which time the male fired, striking him in the head. The officer’s brother-in-law removes the firearm from our officer’s hip and returns fire at least six times.
“Our perpetrator jumps into the driver’s seat of a black auto and speeds off.”
Police found the black BMW SUV that Jones allegedly fled in — and which sources said is registered in his mother’s name — at 129th Street and Park Avenue.
Essig said Jones was with his girlfriend when he was tracked down to the Nanuet hotel — and taken into custody using Fayaz’s handcuffs, Essig confirmed.
Jones has tattoos of a vine and a rose on his neck, praying hands on a bible on his arm, and inscribed on his arm are the words, “If you stand for everything, you’ll stand forever.”
Essig said his criminal record includes a 2014 domestic incident bust for strangulation, and sources said he was currently sought on a 2019 warrant for driving without a license.
His rap sheet lists 22 busts, including for grand larceny, harassment and strangulation, sources previously told The Post.
Crime scene cops on Tuesday scoured the Harlem apartment where Jones lived with his girlfriend and the couple’s four children looking for evidence, building residents said.
The couple’s dog had to be removed in a cage so that police could get inside.
“Detectives said they’d get the miscreant who shot our brother officer — and now he needs to spend the rest of his cowardly life in a jail cell,” Paul DiGiacomo, president of the NYPD Detectives Endowment Association, said in a statement Tuesday.
“There was nowhere this vicious criminal could hide as his world closed in on him due to every detective tirelessly working this investigation,” he said. “There will be justice.”
NYPD Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch, in a statement Tuesday, credited cops with “painstakingly piecing this case together.
“Now, the justice system needs to step up and deliver consequences,” Lynch said. “It needs to send a message to anyone else who would attack police officers or innocent New Yorkers. The system has already failed too many victims.
“It must not fail our brother and his family.”
Additional reporting by Georgett Roberts and Kevin Sheehan