NYPD arrests suspect who shot off-duty NYPD officer in head in robbery attempt

The suspect has 13 prior arrests dating back to 2008, including for strangulation, grand larceny and aggravated harassment

By Thomas Tracy
New York Daily News

NEW YORK — NYPD cops used handcuffs belonging to their fellow officer who is clinging to life when they nabbed the suspect accused of shooting him in a botched Brooklyn Facebook Marketplace robbery.

Cops busted Randy “Popper” Jones for shooting the 66th Precinct officer on a desolate street in East New York after luring the off-duty cop there with a phony car sale, authorities said.

The 26-year-old officer, a five year veteran of the NYPD, was shot in the head during a furious exchange of gunfire and is fighting for his life at Brookdale University Hospital.

Police tracked down Jones, 38, to a hotel in Rockland County Monday.

When they took him into custody the officers cuffed with the wounded officer’s handcuffs, police sources said.

Charges against Jones were pending Tuesday. He’s expected to be charged with attempted murder and robbery, police sources said.

The officer and his relative were robbed after heading to Ruby St. between Linden Blvd. and Dumont Ave. in East New York around 7 p.m. Saturday hoping to buy a Honda Pilot for $20,000 advertised on Facebook Marketplace, cops said.

But when the two men arrived Jones directed them to an alley and pulled a gun on them, cops said.

As the officer pulled his own weapon and Jones allegedly opened fire, striking the cop in the head.

The relative — the cop’s brother or brother-in-law — grabbed the wounded cop’s weapon and returned fire five times but didn’t hit the shooter.

Jones took off in the BMW, leaving the wounded cop on the street.

Jones has 13 prior arrests in the city dating back to 2008, including for strangulation, grand larceny and aggravated harassment, sources said.

His rap sheet dates back to his early 20s, according to police. Most of the arrests took place in Brooklyn, they said.

In 2014, he was arrested for strangulation in the 25th Precinct in East Harlem, where he lives. That same year, he was busted on two counts of grand larceny and one count of petit larceny.

Most recently, he was charged with criminal contempt and driving without a license in 2019, sources said.

Jones’ first known arrests came when he was about 23, for drug possession and criminal trespass, according to the sources.

After that, he racked up arrests on charges including misdemeanor assault and aggravated harassment, they said.

At the time of the officer’s shooting, Jones was wanted on a warrant for the 2019 case of driving without a license, cops said.

On Tuesday, Jones’ abandoned getaway BMW was found on 129th St. and Park Ave. in Manhattan, just a few blocks from his most recent address where he lived with his girlfriend and three children.

When shown a photo of the BMW, a person who lives at Jones’ apartment building on Monday noted that the luxury car was usually parked outside.

Jones and his girlfriend, the man said, had recently had a baby girl.

“I would have never guessed it,” the stunned man said of Jones. “He was never violent.”

After detectives identified Jones as the shooter, cops scoured the apartment building, accessing its surveillance cameras.

“The police were here all day tracing his movements from the building video,” said the neighbor, who wished not to be named.. “We didn’t know it was a cop (he had shot).”

Jones arraignment in Brooklyn Criminal Court was pending Tuesday.

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