NYC Officer, Husband Charged in Shooting

By DINO HAZELL
The Associated Press
Sunday, February 11, 2007; 6:38 PM

NEW YORK -- A police officer who was caught driving the car from which authorities believe her husband shot and wounded an undercover officer was arraigned Sunday on charges including tampering with evidence, prosecutors said.

Jacqueline Melendez-Rivera, 37, was charged with obstructing governmental administration, hindering prosecution and tampering with physical evidence, said prosecutors, who accused her of trying to cover up her husband's crime by driving away his car.

Her husband, Jose Rivera, 31, also was arraigned and charged with attempted murder, assault and criminal possession of a weapon in Saturday's shooting of Officer Andrew Suarez.

Suarez, who was struck in the back, was in stable condition Sunday at a hospital, police said. He was expected to make a full recovery.

The violence unfolded just after 4 a.m. in Brooklyn. Investigators said Suarez and three plainclothes officers pulled their unmarked car over to get a closer look at a vehicle driving behind them.

The driver of the other vehicle leaned across the body of a male passenger, shouted "You got a beef?" and fired a shot at Suarez, who was driving the unmarked police car, police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said. A second shot may also have been fired, Kelly said.

Shortly afterward, police stopped a vehicle matching the description of the one that had carried the attackers. They found Melendez-Rivera driving it and arrested her, Kelly said.

Rivera later was detained at the couple's nearby home. Police said they recovered a loaded 9mm handgun in a yard on the same block.

Melendez-Rivera posted $50,000 bond Sunday and was released, prosecutors said. The wife's lawyer, Chris Devane, did not immediately return a telephone message left with his answering service on Sunday.

Her husband was jailed without bail. His lawyer, Ezra Levy, said his client maintained his innocence and would be vindicated.

"My client denies doing any of the actions he's charged with," Levy said.


© 2007 The Associated Press