A veteran police officer and her husband were arraigned yesterday in connection to Saturday's bizarre drive-by shooting of a plainclothes police officer. Police officer Jacqueline Melendez-Rivera was charged with evidence tampering for trying to cover up that her husband, Jose Rivera, driving in her Acura SUV, had shot at an unmarked police SUV carrying four police officers in Park Slope around 4AM. Rivera was charged with attempted murder.
When police searched for the Acura SUV after the shooting, Melendez-Rivera was found parking the car. She is now denying that she knew the SUV was involved in a shootout or that anyone had been injured. (That seems somewhat unlikely, since her Acura SUV had bulletholes in it.) Apparently Rivera had told his wife that he shot at someone because "they shot first," but that conflicts with the police's version of events. The police say that Rivera's SUV pulled up next to the police SUV, the two parties exchanged dirty looks, and police officer Andrew Suarez, who was driving, showed his badge. Then, Rivera allegedly yelled, "If you've got a beef, we'll give you a beef," and fired twice at the police SUV. Suarez was hit and the other police officers in the car fired at Rivera's speeding car.
On Saturday, police searched the couple's home on St. Marks Avenue and found a Ruger in the backyard. Now it turns out that gun had been used in the shooting. Melendez-Rivera, who is 7 months pregnant, was released on $50,000 bail. She has one child with Rivera and two with ex-husband David Martinez, who is also a cop. Rivera, who was arraigned in the pajama pants ("decorated with little ghosts," per the NY Times) he was arrested in, was denied bail.
A woman who was once married to Melendez-Rivera's brother told the Daily News, "She thought that by having a gun, it's more power to her. I would not be surprised if she would cover up for her husband. She was very smart, but she was pretty aggressive. It was her way or the highway." And Suarez, who was hit in the neck during the shootout, wants to get back on the job. His mother told the Daily News that when she walked into his hospital room, he said, "Mommy, I'm sorry."