Not guilty plea from man who RPD said was passenger in car that tried to hit officers

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ROCHESTER N.Y. (WHEC) — A not guilty plea came from a man who Rochester police said was a passenger in a car that tried to hit officers.

Joshua Cruz-Goebel was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, possession of a controlled substance, and use of drug paraphernalia. He pleaded not guilty during his arraignment in City Court on Thursday morning.

RPD arrested Cruz-Goebel and the man driving the car on Wednesday following a police chase. RPD said that when the car tried to run over officers, the officers fired at the car, striking the driver twice.

The driver is in the hospital and is expected to survive. Police haven’t yet released the driver’s name. Cruz-Goebel, the accused passenger, wasn’t shot but did have a hand injury.

Police said that Cruz-Goebel was in possession of a loaded 9mm handgun, along with a substantial amount of cocaine and meth packaged for street sale. Cruz-Goebel had weapons possession charges in 2017 and 2019 and was prohibited from legally possessing a handgun.

The Rochester Police Department received a tip from a resident around midnight of two suspicious, armed men riding in a vehicle. After officers observed the car violating traffic laws, they attempted to stop the car on Dewey Avenue.

Interim Police Chief David Smith said the driver of the vehicle drove in reverse, then forward in an attempt to hit the officers. Three officers fired shots at the car and the driver suffered two gunshot wounds.

The scene turned into a car chase that ended when the suspect’s vehicle crashed near the intersection of Otis and Myrtle Street. After, the officers pursued the two suspects on foot, taking them into custody.

The officers applied a tourniquet to the suspect who had been shot. Both suspects were taken to Strong Hospital, where the driver is recovering. The other passenger refused medical treatment for his injured hand.

No officers were injured.

Smith said that police recovered narcotics and at least one firearm from the car and both suspects are "known to law enforcement", but wouldn’t comment further.

Smith said this is the third incident this month where someone has tried to harm officers. A man was charged with the attempted murder of an officer after a chase on May 19 that started near Avenue D. Another man was charged with the attempted murder of an officer after police responded to a domestic call on Remington Street.

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