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Man convicted of killing New York police officer in 2015

(Reuters) - A New York man was convicted on Monday of first-degree murder for gunning down a police officer in 2015, a case that angered officials because the shooter was on the street after being sentenced to treatment instead of prison for a drug charge.

Tyrone Howard, 32, was convicted by a Manhattan Supreme Court jury of firing a single shot into Officer Randolph Holder's temple in East Harlem in October 2015, District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said in a statement.

"Tyrone Howard was a one-man crime spree when he orchestrated multiple acts of senseless violence" that culminated in Holder's murder, he said.

Howard had shot repeatedly into a group of people on a street, then stole a bicycle at gunpoint. He ran into Howard and his partner, who were responding to the report of the shooting, and shot Howard to death.

He was convicted of six charges, including first-degree murder, aggravated murder and robbery. Sentencing is expected on April 3, the statement said.

When the shooting took place, Howard had been sentenced to receive treatment as part of a plea bargain for selling crack cocaine. After the shooting, he was sentenced to the maximum 12 years in prison for the drug case.

The outcome of that case drew criticism from Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton after Holder's shooting. They suggested that two state judges erred in allowing Howard to remain on the streets after a history of drug offenses.

Howard, who failed to complete his treatment, was wanted in connection with a gang-related shooting at the time of Holder's death.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington; Editing by Peter Cooney)

 

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