Yonkers, New York - Gunman Frank Valencia, 18, shot Yonkers Officer Kayla Maher, 26, in the face late Monday night, with the shooting coming just one week after Valencia was released by a judge on gun charges.
In his backpacks were 300 rounds of 9mm and .40 caliber bullets, a machete, metal knuckles, and marijuana.
Valencia was charged with possession of a weapon in the second degree and pleaded guilty. Valencia had 23 prior arrests, including threatening his father with a gun and dealing drugs.
Despite his long criminal history and violent behavior, Valencia was only sentenced to five years probation September 20, and he waked away a free man.
The light sentence was given despite the objections of the prosecutors.
On Monday night, Officer Kayla Maher and another officer responded to a 911 call about a suspicious vehicle at Marshall Road and Ridge Drive in Yonkers.
Two men were in the vehicle, and as the officers approached, police say Valencia opened fire, shooting officer Maher in the face.
The gunfight lasted 10 minutes as backup officers arrived. One of the suspects was shot during the shooting.
"As many as five officers exchanged gunfire during this gunfight,” Yonkers Police Commissioner Charles Gardner said, according to NY Daily News. “I don't know specifically if Officer Maher was able to fire.”
A wife of a retired police officer lives nearby and told the Daily News, “We were doing homework with my sons. It was a semi-automatic that was going off. We called the cops and they said stay inside, it was an active police shooting.”
“Even after the cops arrived, they kept firing. It went on for about 10 minutes.
“The first shots were like a pistol, and then there were other guns going off, like they were exchanging fire. There were at least 30 shots,” she said.
Another witness said that he saw them pulling Officer Kayla Maher out.
“Usually there are shots fired and someone runs away. This was a gunfight,” he said. “Nobody was running away.”
The bullet that hit Officer Maher went through her chin and out the other side. She was hospitalized and then released later on Tuesday.
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