QUICK LINKS:

News10NBC speaks with a victim of the man accused of killing RPD officer

Updated: 09/04/2014 7:11 PM
Created: 09/04/2014 7:01 PM WHEC.com
By: Rachel Spotts

We've learned new details about the suspect accused of shooting Rochester Police Department Officer Daryl Pierson to death. As we have reported, we've discovered he has an extensive criminal past which also includes time he spent in Florida.

News10NBC spoke with one man who says Thomas Johnson III robbed him at gunpoint.

It happened in 2010, 65-year-old Jim Kress tells News10NBC, the suspect in last night's fatal shooting held a gun to his head and demanded his wallet four years ago. Police say Thomas Johnson III was charged with attempted robbery for that crime which landed him three years in state prison.

Kress says, "You're scared, but you're kind of angry too."

He says he'll never forget the night Johnson III robbed him at gunpoint. He was on his way to a friend's house on a rainy Friday night in downtown Rochester.

"Someone ran up behind me and put their arm around me and put a gun to my head and asked me for my wallet. So I took my wallet out and shot it down the street."

Kress tells us Johnson III took off for his wallet. Kress attempted to chase him down and called police. They arrested Johnson III shortly after that.

"I subsequently learned that he had a record of criminal behavior," says Kress.

He says the case did go to the grand jury, but he was never contacted to testify. He feels, if he had testified, Johnson III likely wouldn't have been able to plea for a lesser charge of attempted robbery.

"That's the thing that gets me," says Kress. "Because if they didn't let him plea to a lesser charge, he probably would still be in jail and this probably wouldn't have happened."

Kress tells News10NBC he hopes Johnson III will spend the rest of his life in prison. He says Johnson III needs to pay for what he's done. Kress says he's never seen violence in the city get this bad. He's asking lawmakers to crack down on criminals with guns.

"I think they need to somehow curtail whoever brings them in, they need to find out."

Kress hopes Wednesday night's fatal shooting will prompt change. Something to curb escalating violence in our city.

This is the second case in two weeks that a person who was recently off parole has been charged with a violent crime in the City of Rochester. New York State Senator Patrick Gallivan is speaking out, saying the overburdened justice system could be to blame. He says too often prosecutors choose to take plea deals and far too often we see offenders pleading down to lighter sentences than they may deserve. He's calling for that to change. Senator Gallivan says, "First and foremost we have a bad person and second we have a bad person that has taken advantage of the system and has gotten many chances and repeatedly failed." "What we could be doing as lawmakers is looking at who is eligible for parole and who isn't and perhaps revisit that."

This is the second case in two weeks that a person who was recently off parole has been charged with a violent crime in the City of Rochester.

New York State Senator Patrick Gallivan is speaking out, saying the overburdened justice system could be to blame. He says too often prosecutors choose to take plea deals and, far too often, we see offenders pleading down to lighter sentences than they may deserve. He's calling for that to change.

Senator Gallivan says, "First and foremost we have a bad person and second we have a bad person that has taken advantage of the system and has gotten many chances and repeatedly failed."

"What we could be doing as lawmakers is looking at who is eligible for parole and who isn't and perhaps revisit that."





News10NBC/WHEC-TV welcomes your opinion and interaction on our website, but please remember to keep it clean. If you're advertising for another business, being profane, vulgar or slanderous your post will be deleted. By commenting on this website, you agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Use. Comments are not pre-screened before they posted.

Rochester

Overcast
44°
50° | 36°
  • Feels like: 40° F
  • Wind: NE 7mph
  • Humidity: 85%
  • Sat Mainly cloudy and rainy
    44° | 36°
  • Sun Morning rain/snow
    43° | 31°
  • Mon Plenty of sun
    54° | 32°
  • Tue Mostly cloudy
    60° | 43°