By Zachary R. Dowdy
NEW YORK — A Manhattan man convicted of shooting at police in an exchange of gunfire on the Lower East Side in February 2012 will serve 28 years to life in prison.
Luis Martinez, 27, was sentenced by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus Friday, two months after Martinez's conviction on charges of first-degree attempted murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.
Evidence at trial showed Martinez was a marijuana dealer who opened fire with a 9-mm handgun at NYPD officers Thomas Richards and Thomas Dunne when they approached him near the Bernard M. Baruch Houses.
Richards, of Great Neck, was carrying a magazine pouch that was struck by one of Martinez's bullets, sparing Richards an abdominal wound. Martinez was nabbed after he was shot in the buttocks. "If not for the metal gun magazine and leather pouch that prevented the bullet from piercing Officer Thomas Richards' abdomen, he might not be alive today," Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said in a statement Friday. "There is no clearer example of how New York's Finest place their lives on the line every day to keep us safe."
Martinez's attorney, Matthew Myers of Manhattan, said he respects the verdict but will appeal. His client was a full-time student with no criminal record who thought the officers were trying to rob him when the exchange took place, he added. Myers also said the officers' zeal to stop and search Martinez contributed to the shootout.
"The actions of the police officers exacerbated what occurred here," Myers said, adding that Martinez saw the officers shake down someone before he was approached. "He would have walked home."
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