Suspect arraigned in RPD officer's death

Updated: 09/05/2014 9:25 AM
Created: 09/04/2014 11:47 PM WHEC.com

The widow of Officer Daryl Pierson looked on Thursday night as Rochester's Police Chief and Monroe County's District Attorney vowed for justice against the man they say killed her husband.

District Attorney Sandra Doorley said, "As charged now, in the felony complaint, he is looking at life without parole."

The suspect, Thomas Johnson III faces eight felony counts. They include three weapons charges, three assault charges, attempted murder and aggravated murder. He was arraigned and pleaded not guilty from his hospital room at Strong Hospital.

Police say Officer Pierson spotted Johnson last night on Hudson Avenue. When Pierson got close to Johnson, police say the suspect fired at the officer. Court papers show Pierson died from the wound to the neck.

Rochester Police Chief Michael Ciminelli says Pierson never grabbed his gun and never fired at the suspect before he was fatally wounded. Pierson is being mourned by his fellow officers.

"What our goal is, what we're going to do, we're going to stand close together, brothers and sisters until we heal going forward," Rochester Police Locust Club President Mike Mazzeo said.

Johnson's preliminary hearing is set for September 9 at 11 a.m.

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